Australia’s unions push back against calls for minimum wage delay
Unions have pushed back against calls by employer groups to freeze or delay an increase in Australia’s minimum wage.
Major employer groups have argued for the Fair Work Commission to either impose a pay freeze or delay any pay hikes until February 2022.
Replying to the Fair Work Commission’s annual minimum wage review, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) stood by its bid for the minimum wage increase of A$26 (US$20) a week, slated to cover 2.2 million workers on minimum wage from July onwards.
Any outcome that results in a below-inflation increase is not a pay freeze, but a real pay cut, said the ACTU.
Cutting the pay of workers who have kept the economy going during the pandemic, which includes cleaners, supermarket employees, health and aged-care workers, “would be deeply unfair and bad for the economy”, said ACTU president Michele O’Neil, according to The Australian.
“Wage growth keeps hitting new record lows and is currently just 1.4 per cent, while profits grew 15.1 per cent last year,” said O’Neil.
“It’s the first recession in Australian history when profits got bigger, not smaller. Money in the hands of working people will drive the recovery from the pandemic,” she added.