|Issue No 52||05 May 2000|
Living Wage to Flow Through Fast
This week's higher than expected $15 Living Wage decision is likely to flow through to workers employed under NSW awards quickly, after a mirror claim was lodged in the NSW IRC this week.
The Commission will hear submissions on the rise in Wollongong on May 15 and May 16, where unions will argue the $15 a week increase should flow through to the 1.1 million workers employed under the state system.
Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says the decisions has been made not to go for the full $24 the ACTU sought because this would hold up any flow-on and was unlikely to succeed.
"We've been done that track before and spent a lot of time arguing for more than the federal decision and all we did was delay the pay rise," Costa says.
The federal increase of $15 will boost the minimum wage from $385.40 to $400.40. The ACTU argued for an increase of $24 when submissions were heard in March.
Over the past four years the ACTU, through its Living Wage claims, has secured total wage rises of $51 for low-paid workers despite opposition from employer groups and the Government.
Good result for ACTU
Meanwhile, ACTU secretary Greg Combet says the federal decision is a win for all low-paid workers, and would address the widening gap between award-dependent employees and those groups of workers who had achieved higher rates of pay.
"There are still far too many working people who are struggling to pay for the basics in life," Combet says.
"Casual and part-time workers, women, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds are among the lowest paid people in Australia - this rise will help them all.
"The decision supports the ACTU's argument on behalf of all low-paid Australians that the current minimum weekly wage of $385.40 is just not enough.
The decision also shows how out of touch the Government and employers are with the genuine needs of working people. The Government offered a miserly $8 increase, and the major employer group ACCI argued against any increase at all.
"Only the State Labor Governments supported the ACTU's case. It is only fair and reasonable that low-paid workers benefit from the fruits of economic growth - especially when company executives are receiving pay increases of up to 20 per cent.
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International: Alive and Kicking
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005