It’s time for low paid workers to share in Australia’s economic prosperity argues ACTU Senior Industrial Officer Andrew Watson.

Its time.

When we’ve just had the highest quarter of economic growth for four years, when growth in the last six months has exceeded 5 per cent on an annualised basis.

When profits are at an all time high.

When inflation is low.

When employment growth is strong and the unemployment rate is under 6 per cent.

When average productivity growth for the last 7 years is the highest ever recorded for any similar period.

When the Prime Minister describes the economy as powerful and robust.

It’s time for low paid workers to share in Australia’s economic prosperity.

When in the last seven years award dependent industries have exceeded all-industry averages for output and employment growth.

When for the same period real unit labour costs have fallen in those industries.

When profits in the two most award dependent industries have increased at 9 or 10 times the rate of wages.

It’s time to give award workers an increase they’ve earned.

When the evidence tells us that previous safety net adjustments have had no adverse economic impact.

When the Commonwealth has abandoned macroeconomic modelling the ACTU claim because it knows that modelling will show no adverse impact.

When uncontested evidence shows that the impact of our claim is essentially the same as the increase in labour costs for award employees in 2002.

It’s time to accept that our claim can be awarded without adverse economic consequences.

When wage and income inequality are increasing.

When real after tax wages for the low paid award worker have barely moved since 1999.

When independent empirical research tells us that the current Federal Minimum Wage is too low.

When ABS statistics tell us that 59,000 people in low income working households went without meals because of financial difficulties, and that nearly 90,000 had to seek help from welfare or community organisations.

It’s time to make a real and substantial difference.

In this the Commission’s 100th year.

It’s time to continue the long tradition of ensuring fairness in the workplace having regard to economic circumstances and need.

It’s time for $26.60.

More Information

National Wage Case Starts Today: ACTU Claims $26 A Week Pay Rise – The ACTU is seeking a $26.60 a week pay rise for 1.6 million award workers in the national wage case which starts today before a full bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in Melbourne.

Visit the ACTU’s Minimum Wages Campaign area – contains a Minimum Wages media kit, past media releases on mimimum wages, the ACTU submission to the AIRC plus ACTU policies.