Unions say comments from Restaurant and Catering Australia today which are the same as the past three years demonstrate a long-running misrepresentation of truth.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said that each year Restaurant and Catering Australia tell the Fair Work Commission that any raise to the minimum wage will spell the end of the industry and every year this warning is disproven.

”If we are to take these submission at their face value then after three years, by their logic, we shouldn’t have a restaurant and catering industry at all,” he said.

“Obviously this is not the case.”

“Minimum wage workers earn as little as $16.37 and it’s disgraceful that employers say they don’t deserve an increase.”

“Staff are the heart and soul of restaurants and cafes and employers should appreciate the contribution these workers make to their business by paying them a fair wage. Not trying to rip them off.”

“A wage freeze will further widen the gap between low paid workers and the rest of the workforce.”

“Furthermore, the hospitality workforce makes up a good proportion of the customer base that visits restaurants and café – keeping their wages low will mean they have less to spend.”

Mr Oliver said minimum wage workers once earned 60 per cent of average earnings, now it’s only 43 per cent.

“Australia is meant to be the country of the fair go but the stats speak for themselves – we’re going down the path of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots – and the ‘have-not’ population is growing,” he said.

“That’s why we’ll be demanding that the Fair Work Commission ignore false claims such as those from Restaurant and Catering Australia and lift the minimum wage to protect workers from rising inequality.”

Media Contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 and Eleni Hale 0418 793 885