Minimum Wage Increase causes War of Australian Sectors

After the controversial 2013 Budget last week, the Australian government continue their charm offensive in the lead of to the general elections by increasing the minimum wage.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said, “The Australian government supports an appropriate increase in the National Minimum Wage and award wages in 2013. Any increase should take account of changes in living costs and the economic environment … as well as the domestic and global economic outlook in the short to medium term.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said they wanted a $30 a week minimum wage increase, which business groups have labelled as unaffordable.

ACTU’s president, Ged Kearney said low paid workers deserved the 4.9% pay increase, “Workers on the minimum wage are workers who keep our hospitals clean, they care for our elderly, they protect our children, they provide an incredibly valuable service.”

Peter Anderson, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), chief executive disagreed, saying the ACTU’s claim is “reckless”, and that “thousands will have their jobs weakened,” as a result of these proposed increases. The ACCI have instead suggested a weekly rise of $5.80, while the Australian Industry Group says the minimum wage should be limited to $12.

The details of the minimum will be released on Wednesday where the Fair Work Commission will hold it’s final minimum wage hearings in Sydney. It is expected that a final decision will be released at the beginning of June, and we will keep you posted.