Cancer diagnosis for CTU president

Kelly attacks "mean-spirited" minimum wage rise as she awaits prognosis.

Helen Kelly, the president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU), has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

She revealed her condition in an email to union colleagues yesterday in which she thanked them for their “beautiful support this week”.

She also said she is undergoing tests to determine what her prognosis is, which she expects to know by early March.

Ms Kelly, who has been CTU president since 2007, intends to continue in the role.

"I am looking after myself and feel remarkably well, all things considered," she said.

Her condition certainly didn't prevent her from taking the government to task yesterday for a "mean-spirited" 50c rise in the minimum wage, up to $14.75 an hour.

"Yesterday new figures were released for a living wage, with the rate identified at $19.25. The mean-spirited increase announced today means thousands of hard working families facing another year of struggling to make ends meet,” she said.

"More than 300,000 workers are now on or near the minimum wage as collective bargaining rights have been decimated, insecure work arrangements have become widespread and unfettered migration has been allowed to flood low-paid, low-skill work areas.”

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