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News News Federal Wage decision not enough for WA

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA today commented on the decision by Fair Work Australia in the Annual Wage Review.  Today Fair Work Australia announced that the Federal Minimum Wage would rise by 2.9% to $606.40, an increase of $17.10 per week for full time workers.  This decision will affect around 300,000 working people in WA who have their pay determined under Federal Awards.

Simone McGurk, Secretary UnionsWA, said:

“Given rising essential costs in WA such as for electricity and housing, this small increase is just not enough for low income workers.
“Overall the Australian economy is strong and particularly so in WA.

“Interest rates, unemployment and industrial disputes are low.

“The overall inflation is low but this is misleading because low wage workers must meet rising costs for essentials, rather than slowing price rises for electronics, luxuries and lifestyle goods. 

“From June 2008 and 2011, since the election of the Barnett Government, electricity costs have gone up by 57%, gas and other household fuels by 70%, rents up by 25%, and education costs by 28%.

“Unfortunately Fair Work Australia has largely set this award wage increase relying on average costs of living. 

“This is particularly unfair for workers in WA.

“Ten years ago, in 2002, the Federal Minimum Wage was equal to 51.3% of average earnings in WA, with this decision the Federal Minimum Wage has dropped to 40.1% of ordinary earnings.

“That difference represents a fall in the Federal Minimum Wage compared with average earnings in WA of $195.73 per week in ten years.

“The two-speed economy is putting low wage workers in WA into reverse.”

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