The ACTU will seek a $26.60 a week increase in minimum award pay rates in its 2004 Minimum Wage Case in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission

  • 1.6 million employees paid under Federal and State industrial Awards,
    including many part-time and casuals, rely on the claim for their only pay rise
    each year.
  • The case would lift the Federal Minimum Wage from $11.80 to $12.50 per
  • The case would increase the full time Federal Minimum Wage from $448.40 per
    week to $475 per week, or from $23,316 a year to $24,700 a
  • From 1996 to 2001, the weekly income of the bottom 20% of earners in
    Australia increased by $3 compared to $109 for the top 20%. (ABS 6523.0
    Household and Income Distribution Table 1P13)
  • Increasing award wages is an effective tool to reverse growing income
    inequality. Award workers represent 21% of the workforce but receive only 13% of
    the national wages bill.
  • The ACTU’s 2004 claim is calculated to add 0.1% to economy wide wage
    costs, 0.08% to inflation, and to have a negligible impact on
  • For full time workers, the average annual percentage increase from the claim
    would be 4.5%. This compares to average annual growth of:

  • 6.2% in Average Weekly Earnings (ABS August 2003)
  • 6.1% in Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings AWOTE (ABS August 2003)
  • 7.3% for CEOs (Australian Financial Review executive salaries survey
    Nov 2003)
  • Who are award dependent workers?

  • 21% of all Australian employees – around 1.6 million people –
    work on awards
  • 60% of award wage workers are women
  • Nearly all work in hospitality, retail or health & community
  • 51% earn less than $15 per hour
  • 37% earn less than $14 per hour
  • 17% earn less than $13 per hour
  • 57% are part-time
  • 47% are casual
  • 40% are both part-time and casual.
  • ACTU Minimum Wages Claims since 1996:

  • Since 1996, the ACTU’s annual cases have increased the Federal Minimum
    Wage by $99 a week or $5,148 per annum in dollar terms.
  • Allowing for inflation, the ACTU Cases have increased the Federal Minimum
    Wage by more than 8% in real terms since 1996.
  • Since 1996, the Howard Government has opposed every increase in minimum
    wages sought by the ACTU, instead offering between $8 and $12 a
  • If the Howard Government had had its way, then workers on the Minimum Wage
    would be $35 a week or $1,820 a year worse off than they are now.