Unions push for $21 per week pay rise

Unions are seeking a $21 a week pay rise for workers on minimum wages to protect jobs by maintaining the purchasing power of working families and stimulate the economy.

The ACTU has welcomed the passage of new Fair Work laws through parliament but says more needs to be done to protect the jobs and incomes of working Australians in tough economic times.

Launching the unions’ pay claim, ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said more than 1.3 million award reliant workers must get a pay rise that maintains the real value of their wages in this year’s National Minimum Wage Case.
“Decent wages are a vital defense against a downturn in jobs and the prospect of a serious recession because they stimulate demand,” Mr Lawrence said.

“The $21 per week pay rise would lift the Federal Minimum Wage from the current $543.78 a week to just $564.78 per week, only $14.86 per hour. “

The ACTU urges the Fair Pay Commission to reject recent calls by employer lobby groups for a wage freeze, which would mean further real pay cuts.