Minimum Wages:1.6 million reasons not to change the way they are set
The Federal Government wants to change the way pay rises are granted for 1.6 million workers who earn award wages. Here is why it is such a bad idea.
Each year the Australian Industrial Relations Commission decides how much the pay rise will be for award workers.
It is called the minimum wages case but affects a lot more people than just those earning the lowest amounts.
In every case unions have argued for a substantial rise in the minimum rate and for that amount to flow to all 1.6 million award workers.
In our area, some aged care workers, Aboriginal health workers and many of those in the disability sector rely on the wages case for their annual pay rise.
But every year since it came to power in 1996, the Howard Government has opposed minimum wage claims.
If the government's arguments had been accepted by the IRC, since 1997, the country's lowest paid workers would be worse off by $44 a week. Families, with two parents battling on the base rate, would be $4600 a year worse off.
But now because unions have been able to win fair pay rises in the case, the Howard Government wants to change the rules to make it harder for the IRC to grant decent pay rises.
The Employment Minister Kevin Andrews says he believes minimum wages are $70 a week higher than he would like - this would mean a pay cut for minimum wage workers of more than $5,000 a year.
The government hasn't revealed the exact details of its plan yet and it will have to go through parliament.
So why not join the campaign to protect rights at work and send a message to the Federal Government to leave the minimum wages case alone.
Health Services Union of Australia