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Minimum wage workers welcome pay hike

For 26-year-old Ashley Stagg, every cent counts.

For 26-year-old Ashley Stagg, every cent counts.

That’s why the Saint Mary’s University student, who slings coffee at Uncommon Grounds on the side, is pleased to be getting a raise.

The Sydney native and other minimum wage workers across Nova Scotia are receiving a 50 cent per hour increase starting today. The hourly rate will jump to $8.60 from $8.10 for more experienced employees, while staffers with less than three months on the job will see their pay improve to $8.10, up from $7.60.

“It’s kind of good timing because I’ll be finished school in the next month, so I’ll be working full-time,” the busy barista said while taking a quick break from work yesterday.

“It’s definitely going to show up on my paycheques.”

Dale King, manager of the hopping coffee shop on Halifax’s Hollis Street, agreed workers who work in the service and retail industries are “really underpaid.”

“We get walked over (and) talked over,” he said. “Every time you treat your employees better, they’re going to stay longer.”

Jeff Mayhew, owner of Sportwheels in Lower Sackville, said he’s all about instilling pride in his staff members, which is why he pays them more than minimum wage.

But he said it will be a challenge for his sporting goods store to meet its employees’ expectations of pay raises.

“It’s a chain reaction,” he said. “Everyone that’s making more than that feels their wage should go up as well, but (what if) business isn’t going up?”

 
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