||Issue No. 256||18 March 2005|
Planet Common Cents
Workplace: Dirt Cheap
Industrial: Daddy Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
International: From the Wreckage
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Meat and Three Veg
Savings: Super Seduction
Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Poetry: To Know Somebody
Review: Off the Rails
The Locker Room
Fabulous Fan Mail
Nelson ‘Solves’ Skills Crisis
Facts Ruin Costello’s Story
Treasurer Costello and Coalition cohorts, including the Prime Minister and Workplace Relations Minister, want a brake applied to the minimum wage on the grounds that it costs jobs.
Figures released this week show that Australian employment has grown at three times the rate of low-minimum wage countries like the US.
Analysis of movements over the past five years shows the Australian minimum wage has risen 2.9 percent, in real terms, while the US figure has fallen by nearly 12 percent.
Over that period, Australian jobs grew by 10.4 percent, while the US could manage only 2.9 percent. UK jobs growth, during a period of rapid minimum wage increases, has also outstripped the US where conservative politicians have driven real-dollar minimums down.
The US minimum wage, $5.15 an hour for adults, hasn't moved for eight years and has been cited as a factor in the burgeoning growth of that country's working poor. In Kansas it is only $2.74 an hour and, in Oklahoma, employers of less than 10 people can pay $2 an hour.
Critics of the Howard Administration claim that a raft of anti-worker laws - outlawing strikes; restricting unions; sidelining Industrial Relations Commissions; legalising unfair dismissals; proscribing matters that can be negotiated; and changing minimum wage criteria - head Australia down the US track.
"The Government's plan to reduce minimum wages and cut award conditions will hurt families but won't help the unemployed," ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, says.
"It wants to take Australia down the road towards a US style of minimum wages system where there is a very low minimum and no awards to protect people's pay, working conditions or living standards."
Also flying in the face of federal government claims is strong employment growth since last year's IRC award of a $19 minimum wage increase.
The feds told the IRC the economy could stand no more than a $10 rise but that evidence was dismissed and, according to government figures, jobs have grown another two percent since the increase became effective.
Floor Sinks Again
Meanwhile, 7.4 million minimum and low-wage workers in the US missed out on a raise for the eighth year straight when the Senate, last week, voted 46-49 against
raising the minimum wage from the current $5.15 an hour to $7.25.
A Republican amendment that called for an 80-hour, two-week work period in exchange for a $1.10-an-hour increase was also defeated
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online