A new survey reveals that the majority of Australians believe executives are paid too much and that the minimum wage should be increased to ensure a ‘decent standard of living’.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said that what this research shows is that the community understands why the minimum wage is important and why we can’t allow an American style ‘working-poor’ to emerge in Australia.

“With a whopping majority, the survey clearly shows that people view the ballooning pay packets handed out to executives as excessive,” Ms Kearney said

“Working people are concerned that they are getting less and less of the economic pie despite dedicating 40 hours a week – often more – to work and contributing significantly to their employers success.

“Balancing the family budget such as mortgage, bills, petrol and childcare costs all in the face of rising unemployment and job losses in the news every day is making people anxious.”

Ms Kearney said the current push by the Abbott Government and conservative forces who want to see wages drop in Australia was not resonating with the public.

“People are not stupid. They know that lower wages will hurt them and will change Australia. They have seen what has happened in America with the emergence of ‘working poor’ and they are genuinely worried that this could happen here,” Ms Kearney said.

“Nearly 60 per cent of people said that they are worried about Australia moving in the direction where working a 40-hour week would not give workers enough to live on. They don’t want a situation like in the US where people work two jobs in order to cover their costs.

“People appreciate what we have here and feel proud that we are a high wage, high productivity nation. They don’t agree that worker’s pay should be cut or that the minimum wage is too high.”

Submissions for the minimum wage case are due on March 26th.

Ms Kearney said the ACTU will be fighting hard to see an appropriate rise in the minimum wage and ensure it gives people enough to live on.

“Anything less is unacceptable. Working 40-hours a week and getting less than a living wage is a slippery slope to a kind of Australia working people do not want to live in,” Ms Kearney said.