UnionsWA has responded to the decision today in the WA State Wage Case that awarded a $43.45 per week increase to the Adult Full time WA Minimum Wage, a 5.3% increase which is below overall inflation and well below actual cost of living increases for the low wage workers.
Owen Whittle, Secretary, UnionsWA, said:
“The lowest paid West Australians are going backwards against inflation because of this decision, which is deeply disappointing, unfair and economically dangerous.
“A 5.3% pay increase when inflation in Perth is tracking at 5.8% for March is appalling.
“Past Commission decisions in the WA have not kept pace with rapidly rising costs of living, with workers pay going backward on average by 1.4% before this decision.
"Overall inflation doesn't take into account the different essential cost of living increases facing low paid workers.
“With Perth rents having increased by 7.6% and all housing costs by 7.1% the findings of research from Anglicare Australia that show that a Perth retail worker typically pays 67% of their income on rent, while a retail worker in northern WA pays 75%.
“For the first time in many years, the WA Minimum Wage is now lower than the Federal Minimum Wage of $882.80 pw for a full time adult – a $19.45 weekly deficit.
“We don’t WA to become a low wage zone.
“This decision impacts wages for all WA Awards, including apprentices and trainees.
“The new WA minimum wage for an adult in full time employment is $863.35 per week.
“It will now be harder to attract and retain working people to WA and make it harder to keep apprentices and trainees in their roles, and in doing so undermining our skills base.
"There is now an urgent need for the WA Government to do what it can to counter this unfair and economically damaging decision, including abolishing the 5% lower casual loading in WA."