Sunday, April 09, 2017

ACTU – Rejection of Target Proof Workplace System Broken

Rejection of medium term target further proof workplace system is broken

7 April 2017

The rejection of a joint claim in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a medium term minimum wage target shows the workplace relations system is broken and skewed towards employers and not working people.

A full bench of the FWC today handed down a decision to dismiss claims from United Voice, the
ACTU, Australian Council of Social Services and the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations that would have set a medium-term minimum wage target. 

The medium term target was proposed in 2016 from United Voice, with the support of the ACTU, to address the decline in the ratio of minimum wages to average earnings.

The ACTU argued the FWC should consider setting a medium term target for the national weekly minimum wage to reach 60% of median earnings in four years. The minimum wage is currently 44.8% of average weekly ordinary time earnings at just $672.70 per week or $17.70 per hour. 

The Turnbull Government and employer groups were unanimous in their opposition to the target.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “This is a disappointing outcome for a claim that could have given clear direction for the Commission in coming years in ascertaining future increases to the minimum wage.” 
  • “Our workplace relations system is supposed to work to deliver fair decisions for working people. There is something broken when the system delivers a verdict that dismisses the concept of future-proofing wage rises for Australia’s lowest paid workers.”
  • “A four-year target would have seen weekly earnings rise to more than $860 by 2020 and helped closed the gap on rising inequality in Australia.”
  • “Australian wage growth has ground to a halt under the Turnbull Government, which goes out of its way to push workers further down the food chain in order for big corporations to make fatter profits.”
  • “We will not give up our fight for greater equality for working people and will rigorously argue for a $45 a week increase in the forthcoming minimum wage case.”

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