- The Guardian
- Issue #1968
Last month, the Fair Work Commission increased the minimum wage by 2.5 per cent – raising it to $20.33 an hour. This means that the new, full-time minimum wage will be $772.60 per week – an increase of just $18.80 for the lowest-paid workers in Australia. A closer look at the numbers reveals that workers aren’t even getting fifty cents more an hour. The figure seemingly appears as a compromise point between the unions and business lobbies.
Business lobbies like the Australian Industry Group (AI Group) were calling for a 1.1 per cent raise, with its Chief Executive Innes Willox stating that he felt the number “would contribute to a significant overall increase in living standards for award-reliant employees and their families.” The ACTU, however, called for a 3.5 per cent raise to the minimum wage, with ACTU Secretary Sally McManus stating back in March that “if it is a ‘V’ shaped recovery for profits it needs to be for wages as well. Profits rose 8.9 per cent through 2020 and the Reserve Bank says wages growth should be above 3 per cent.”
Despite the raise not being what the ACTU had been calling for, McManus stated, “[t]his wage rise goes to one in four working people – and this process is the only avenue those people have to a pay rise each year. This is essential work which unions do on behalf of those workers.”
The new minimum wage came into effect last Thursday, but as usual, those who need the money most won’t see it for a while. Those on the general retail award will not receive the pay increase until September, with workers in aviation, tourism, fitness and some retail trade sectors forced to wait until November.
Speaking on the staggered pay rise, McManus also said that “it is extremely disappointing that the Commission has delayed increases for any workers – but especially those who have worked throughout the pandemic and whose employers have posted record profits.”
Exactly. One would think that the pay rise would immediately go to those working in sectors that have been experiencing profits during the pandemic but no, those workers who are constantly exposing themselves to the risk of catching COVID-19 are left to wait until later in the year.
This increase is much needed for workers who, according to the ACTU, have seen wage growth be “effectively stagnant for eight years.” Having a fair pay rise not only helps workers, who are the producers of value, but also the economy. As McManus stated, “There can be no economic recovery without a wages recovery” because “[p]ay increase will be spent in local communities across the country and will help small and medium businesses as well as working people get back on their feet after the pandemic.”
The CPA is dedicated to fighting for fairer wages and better working conditions for all in Australia. The CPA, through its electoral expression, wants to see a worker-oriented economy that works for the people – not big business. Help us fight for you by registering with The Communists at: