The union representing Australian hotel workers has called on employers to abandon their plans to seek a six month delay in the payment of last week’s $18 a week Living Wage increase.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission will sit in Melbourne on Friday to consider a timetable for the application by the Australian Hotels Association to institute the pay freeze for employees in four and five star accommodation hotels and resorts.

LHMU National Secretary, Jeff Lawrence, said today the AHA should abandon the claim which will, in the first instance hurt the pay packets of more than 10,000 hotel workers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Tasmania.

‘Accommodation hotel workers are not highly-paid workers and they are entitled to the protection the ACTU’s annual safety net case give them against ever-increasing costs,’ Jeff Lawrence said.

‘Most employers in this industry refuse to engage in enterprise bargaining. They have refused to share the wealth in good times * for example, the windfall profits made from the Olympics.’

‘Major hotel chains are talking about the post-September 11 lift-off they are, right now, experiencing, which is turning into more profits, and more work for LHMU members. Hotel chains should share with their employees the increased dollars from this positive tourism trend.’

Mr Lawrence said the union would consider appropriate protest action if hotel employers pressed the wage freeze application.

‘The recent $18 a week living wage increase was found by the AIRC to be within the capacity of the Australian economy to absorb.’

‘The workers who qualify for the increase are those on minimum award rates of pay. They are entitled to the protection of the AIRC. They should not have to face the worry and uncertainty that this application entails’.