||Issue No. 289||11 November 2005|
The Great Repression
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
We're Just Serfin'
To the Shredder
States Sidestep Wage Hurdle
In a move coordinated nationally, peak union bodies launched the bid in all states, except Victoria where the Kennet Government gave up workers to the Commonwealth in the nineties.
The plan is to pressure the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to hear one more claim before its powers are absorbed by the Australian Fair Pay (sic) Commission.
But even if this fails, unions are determined to keep real wages stable for the 25 per cent of workers who will not be immediately captured in the federal takeover.
If successful, the claim will add $19.30 to the minimum wage of $484.00 for all workers and will take affect from August 2006.
Announcing the NSW claim, Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the increase would cover 400,000 workers employed on minimum rates within state awards in retail, hospitality and clerical industries, ensuring a wage increase that will meet increasing living costs such as petrol prices.
The claim does not apply to workers covered by the Howard Government's federal industrial relations system.
"We owe it to the most vulnerable members of our society to do this. These are the people who will be the most exploited under the new system," Mr Robertson said.
"It will be 18 months before the Fair Pay Commission is able to deal with this issue," he said.
"Then, when the claim is finally heard, it will be by a team of government-appointed economists, not an independent industrial umpire," he said.
"Our claim aims to make sure that workers employed under the NSW system are not left out in the cold - they are losing enough rights without having their real wage reduced as well," he said.
"Usually State Wage Cases flow on from national decisions, but we're not confident that the Federal Commission will have a chance to deal with this issue," he said.
"The Howard Government's 'No Choices' legislation will mean that minimum wage workers will not receive any sort of wage review for at least 18 months," he said.
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