||Issue No. 258||08 April 2005|
Be My Guest
Interview: [email protected]
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
Cash Grab Targets Families
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the Prime Minister’s recipe would equate to a two percent jump in home loan interest rates.
"This shows dramatically what the federal government's minimum wage agenda is - keeping wages down for the benefit of big business," Robertson said.
"Constraining the wage would affect thousands of workers on minimum wages and lead to a real cut in living standards."
The data was revealed as Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, confirmed minimum wage rules would be changed as soon as the Coalition gained control of the Senate.
Under the current regime, annual wage cases are heard by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission which is obliged to take into account affects on employment and the broader economy.
The ACTU is claiming $26.60 a week in a case that will again be vigorously contested by employer organisations and the Howard Government.
Complete success for the union peak body would see fulltime minimum wages increased to $494 a week, while hourly rates for casuals and part-timers would jump to $13 an hour.
More than 1.6 million Australians are employed under awards whose only movements are determined by the minimum wage case. Well over half of those people are women.
Every year, since it came to power in 1996, the Howard Government has opposed minimum wage claims.
If its contentions had been accepted by the IRC, since 1997, the country's lowest paid workers would be worse off by $44 a week. Families, with two parents battling on the base rate, would be $4600 a year worse off.
The exact fulltime minimums for each year of the Howard regime, with Government claims in brackets, were: 1997, $359.40 ($357.40); 1998, $373.40 ($365.40); 1999, $385.40 ($373.40); 2000, $400.40 ($381.40); 2001, $413.40 ($391.40); 2002, $431.40 ($401.40); 2003, $448.40 ($413.40); 2004, $467.40 ($423.40).
Andrews and Treasurer, Peter Costello, both say the current arrangement does not give enough wait to job creation.
When that line has been tested before the IRC it has been found, on the evidence presented, to have been "unconvincing".
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