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
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
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.