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News Media Releases Low wage workers left behind in state wage decision
Low wage workers left behind in state wage decision
Friday, 11 June 2010 16:30

Media Release         11  June 2010

Low wage workers around WA will be angry and disappointed with the WA Industrial Relations Commission’s decision to increase the state minimum wage by only $17.50, says UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk.

‘With energy prices going up over winter’, said Ms McGurk, ‘this decision is a slap in the face for employees and their families who are struggling to make ends meet’.

WA is a prosperous state, as demonstrated by recent labour force figures showing that unemployment has fallen to 4.1%. 

‘All WA workers, including the low paid, should be able to benefit from an economic recovery’, said Ms McGurk. ‘When are the low paid going to start getting ahead, if not during times like these?’

Last year the WAIRC delivered only a $12.30 a week increase to the state minimum wage, and even that was delayed for three months.  The 2010 decision represents an increase of 3.1%, lower than the WA current rate of inflation of 3.4%. 

 ‘A quarter of workers on the minimum wage are likely to stay on that wage for a number of years’, said Ms McGurk. ‘This decision means state minimum wage workers are continuing to have their income growth restricted’.

Employers  argued that the WA state minimum wage is higher than minimum wages in the rest of Australia. However, a state minimum wage should reflect state conditions, and it remains the case that costs in utilities, education and health have been rising faster in WA than in the rest of Australia. Average Weekly Earnings growth has also been higher in WA than for the rest of Australia.

‘Income disparity is increasing in the WA community’, said Ms McGurk, ‘and this decision does nothing to redress it.’

For comment, please contact Simone McGurk 0407 199 890   UnionsWA 08 9328 7877

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