Today Australian unions have launched a campaign to increase the minimum wage.
The ACTU, the peak body of unions, is today lodging a submission to the umpire in these matters, Fair Work Australia, asking it to provide a $26 a week pay rise for Australia’s lowest paid workers in 2012.
The submission argues that our lowest paid workers, many of whom are women, have fallen well behind average income earners over the past decade.
They want the minimum wage to be $615.30 per week. It’s currently just $589.30 per week. The current median rent in Kogarah, an average suburb in Sydney’s south, is currently $240, which doesn’t leave a lot left for groceries, transport and clothing in any family.
Head of the ACTU, Jeff Lawrence, said in a statement;
Minimum wage workers are the backbone of the economy. They are the people who clean our schools and shopping centres, serve us in hotels, who take care of our elderly and our children. These are people we cannot live without, yet their value is not reflected in their pay packets. We must ensure they are not forgotten.
An awful lot of them are also working mums.
How do we know this?
We know that those people who are ‘award reliant’ (that is they are paid only what their employer is legally obliged and not a penny more) are mostly women, part-time or casual and in non-managerial positions.
We know these workers don’t have much bargaining power with their employer, so this is the only pay rise they are likely to receive.
Even if you’re not directly affected or ‘award reliant’, increasing the minimum wage is a good move because it means that those families are more likely to spend their any income on food, housing and clothing, keeping the economy going for us all.
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More information on the campaign is available from here.