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Unions Win $17 A Week Pay Rise For 1.6 Million Award Workers07 June 2005
Craig Thomson, National Secretary said "We are very pleased with a wage increase of $17 a week for working people reliant on minimum wages but are very concerned that the changes recently announced by John Howard will threaten future pay increases for low paid workers.
The vehicle for the national wage case was the HSU Aboriginal Health Award. In health the main beneficiaries of the increases decided by the Industrial Relations Commission are Aboriginal health workers as well as some aged care and residential care workers.
The current minimum wage process, through an independent tribunal that balances economic factors along with the needs of low paid workings has once again delivered a decent pay increase for low paid workers of $17 a week.
This raises the federal minimum wage for full time adults to $484.40 a week. For casual workers on a minimum wage that have a 25% loading, this amounts to $15.90 an hour.
However we are very concerned under the changes announced recently by the Prime Minister, this will be the last national wage case of this type.
The Howard Govt has announced changes to the way minimum wages are set so that there will be lower outcomes for up to 1.6 million award workers reliant on the minimum wages system.
The Federal Government came to the wage case this year proceedings offering a pay rise of only $11 a week. This would have meant a cut in real terms in the wages of low paid workers and would have pushed down their living standards - a fact that has been acknowledged by Australian Industrial Relations Commission in its decision today.
If you look back over the last 8 years, if the Howard Government had had its way, then low paid workers would have been $50 a week worse off - that is $2500 a year worse off.
John Howard's proposals are to get rid of the independent tribunal and to get rid of unions -to get unions out of the picture from fighting for the rights and living standards of working people.
We will be going into help people in their workplaces to make sure they are not being ripped off and to stop them losing their penalty rates, their public holidays, their overtime or their shift penalty rates.
In future it is only by being in a union and working together that we will be able to achieve any sort of wage increase now that this is the last of the genuine national wage cases".
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