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wage growth

Minimum wage decision adds to penalty rates pain

The latest minimum wage increase won’t be enough to keep low paid workers out of poverty, unions say, especially when they are already facing cuts to penalty rates.

On 6 June, the Fair Work Commission announced a $22.20 a week increase in the national minimum wage, less than half the amount that unions argued is necessary to ensure a decent living standard for all Australian workers.

Nearly one in four Australian workers are dependent on either the national minimum wage or minimum rates award wages and many of these work in areas which will be hit by the phase out of penalty rates.

These workers are taking a double hit at a time when corporate profits are booming. National economic data for the year to March shows business profits up 39.7 per cent, while wages growth is a dismal 0.9 per cent.

“It is now urgent that Australians’ wages are increased given wage growth in Australia is at a 76-year low,” ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said. “The cost of living is rising and 700,000 people are about to get a penalty rate cut.”

“If our current rules can’t deliver a decent pay rise, then they need to change.”

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