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News Media Releases Unions blast State Govt and CCI over pathetic minimum wage increase
Unions blast State Govt and CCI over pathetic minimum wage increase
Friday, 10 June 2011 15:43

WA unions have hit out at the $20 a week increase for low wage workers handed down by the WA Industrial Relations Commission today.

Despite escalating living costs and continuous talk of a mining boom, the CCI and the State Government both pushed for negligible increases to the minimum wage which would leave a family of four, with one adult working on an award wage, well below the poverty line.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has accused the CCI and the State Government of hypocrisy and contempt for low paid workers.

“The CCI and the State Government consistently talk out of both sides of their mouths on the economy and the minimum wage. One day the WA economy is booming to such an extent that we’re experiencing inflation and skills shortages, the next day the economy is so fragile that we can’t afford to give the lowest paid in our community a decent wage increase.

“The State Government in particular should hang its head in shame over asking for such a miserable increase – particularly after its policies are driving up charges for electricity and other basic services. Someone on the minimum wage  barely earns $30,ooo a yearwill get less than $16 in their hand after tax.  Cost rises hit the low paid hard,” Ms McGurk said

“The median weekly house rent in WA is currently almost 65% of the weekly minimum wage. On top of this, utility prices in Perth have already increased 45% under this Government with further increases to come from the most recent state budget.

“It’s particularly galling that the State Government is raising utility prices on the one hand yet refusing to support a decent minimum wage increase so that people can afford these price hikes.”

As the graph below demonstrates, over the last ten years, the real value of the WA minimum wage has risen only 8%, while real full time wages have increased 28%.  “Minimum wage workers in this state are falling further and further behind,” Ms McGurk said.

Graph

Ms McGurk has also accused the State Government of making a bad situation worse in terms of the now 27.7% gender pay gap in WA.

“As award workers are predominantly women, this decision will do nothing to address the outrageous gender pay gap in WA which at almost 28% is far higher than the rest of the country.”

The CCIWA and State Government were both arguing for increases of 2% and 2.75% respectively.

 For more comment or more information contact: Simone McGurk on 0407 199 890.

Download media release: pdf Min_Wage_media_release_-_WA__bad_outcome.pdf 273.92 Kb  

 
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