UnionsWA has today commented on the decision of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission in handing down the State Wage Case. The State Wage Case determines both the WA Minimum Wage and WA Award levels of pay, including for apprentices and trainees. Around a quarter of a million working West Australians have their pay determined by this decision.
Owen Whittle, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“The WA Industrial Relations Commission today decided to award a 2.5% pay increase for those on the WA Minimum Wage or dependent WA Awards
“From next year the State Minimum Wage for a full-time adult will be $779.00 per week, or an adult hourly rate of $20.50 per hour
“This is a modest wage increase of an additional 50 cents per hours or $19 per week for a full time employed adult.
“Improving the pay of low paid workers is forward step for economic recovery from the pandemic
“This decision has the greatest impact on our lowest paid workers, including apprentices and trainees, and by necessity they spend all they earn in local businesses.
“The Commission has made a decision closest to that called for by UnionsWA and the welfare sector, and rejected the push by employers for a wage freeze.
“Disappointingly, for the second year in a row the peak employer body, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA, called on the Commission to award no increase in wages at all.
“A welcome of the Commission was the rejection of submissions by employers for a deferral of any increase.
“Last year’s entire increase was deferred by six months.
“In its submission the State Government called on the Commission to award just under a $1,000 a year increase, just like its failed State Wages Policy for public sector workers; that would see many go backwards in real terms.
“UnionsWA and WACOSS called on the Commission to award weekly increase of not less than $30.40 per week for full time working adults, equivalent to 4%.
“Housing costs, state government fees and charges and other essential costs of living continue to rise.
“Fairness requires that wages at least keep pace with costs of living.
“The WA economy is now quite isolated, how long that will continue is anyone’s guess.
“On a practical level, WA faces labour and skill shortages and we need healthy pay rises to both retain working people in WA and so that business, especially small business, can enjoy the benefit local spending power.”