ACTU launches campaign to increase minimum wage

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ACTU launches campaign to increase minimum wage

Australia risks losing its claim as the country of the fair go if the alarming decline in the relative earnings of low paid workers continues, the ACTU said today.

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Australia risks losing its claim as the country of the fair go if the alarming decline in the relative earnings of low paid workers continues, the ACTU said today.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said the national minimum wage was now just 43.3% of average full-time wages, the lowest proportion on record.

The ACTU will soon make its submission to the Minimum Wage bench and presumably nominate a figure it is seeking as an increase.

Key facts

Key facts noted by the ACTU are:
  • The minimum wage is currently $622.20 or $32,355.44 a year;
  • It is 43.3% of the average full-time wage (AWOTE), the lowest minimum wage ‘bite’ on record. Five years ago, the Minimum Wage was 46.9% of the average. Five years before that, the ratio was 48.2%;
  • Two decades ago, Australia's minimum wage was nearly 60% of average full time wages; 10 years on it was hovering around 50%;
  • The rise in the incidence of low pay is particularly sharp and concerning. In 2002, 13.8%
    of Australian full-time workers had earnings below two-thirds of the median; by 2012 this
    had risen to 18.9%;
  • Over the past 10 years, average full-time wages rose by $211.30 per week in real terms,
    or 17.2%. The minimum wage was increased by just $31.10 in inflation-adjusted terms, a
    real increase of 5.3% over the past decade;
  • The minimum wage is only slightly higher in inflation-adjusted terms than it was in 2006;
  • Statistics show households with low-paid adult employees have experienced a rise in financial stress and deprivation between 2003-04 and 2009-10.
Boost for women

Unions said an increase in the minimum wage was a crucial part of supporting women to remain in the workforce and played an important role in closing the gender pay gap.

Oliver said a raise in the minimum wage would boost the paypackets of more than one million low paid women.
 
 
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