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Living wage

The Communist Party of Australia is committed to not only stopping the attacks on and erosion of the living standards of the Australian working class but to raising them.

Employers have used all means at their disposal to increase the exploitation of workers. These include the use of contract labour, casualisation and other precarious working arrangements, non-payment of entitlements, cutting wages, unpaid overtime, increasing the length of the working day and intimidation and harassment of workers who demand their rights or join a trade union.

The move toward enterprise based agreements and individual working arrangements exacerbated the situation as the concept of centralised wage fixing became a distant memory. Women and other low income workers, in particular, suffered serious setbacks under enterprise bargaining and individual contracts.

The introduction of traineeships has also extended low wages for trainees across into non-traditional trades areas. These wages are based on an amount for time out of school and are well below the poverty line.

Other features of the heightened exploitation of workers and the erosion of living standards include:

  • rising prices without corresponding increases in wages
  • increases in productivity which result in increased output without corresponding wage rises
  • wage cuts
  • sackings
  • discrimination on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or race.

The CPA condemns and opposes all these practices. The CPA rejects the concept that the wages system under capitalism can be fair. We also reject the illusory sloganeering about “a fair day’s work, for a fair day’s pay”.

Such concepts are designed to obscure the exploitative nature of the wages system under capitalism.  After a period of time at work (often a short period) the value created by workers far outweighs the wages they are being paid. Surplus value is created after this point for the sole benefit of the employing class. As production is based on exploitation and private accumulation of the wealth produced by workers, the wages system can never be fair. Exploitation and non-payment for the fruits of one’s labour denies the possibility of a “fair day’s work, for a fair day’s pay”.

The Communist Party of Australia believes that all workers, regardless of their position within the economy, must receive a living wage. After all, no profit can exist without the labour of the working class. Workers have an inviolable right to a living wage.

The Communist Party of Australia will continue to fight alongside workers to ensure that their labour is remunerated at the highest possible levels. We struggle for an end to capitalism and the wages system.

For the security of workers and their families in our society today, the CPA will campaign for:

  • an immediate 40% increase in minimum wages
  • guaranteed mandatory pay rises
  • job security – abolition of contract and body hire labour, no use of casual labour where work is ongoing
  • equal pay for work of equal value
  • young workers paid an adult wage where doing same work as adults
  • shorter working week without loss of pay
  • a minimum legislated 5 weeks annual leave
  • provision of labour protections in law for contract and casual labour
  • a minimum redundancy of 4 weeks for every year of service
  • a legislated maximum wage for company executives
  • full sick pay for all workers regardless of employment contract status e.g. casual, permanent, etc.

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