Fair Pay Commission rules out a wage rise

Submitted by Jim Thesiger on 8 July, 2009 - 06:59

The Australian Fair Pay Commission have decided not to change the present minimum wage for 1.3 million low paid Australian workers keeping the minimum wage at $543.78 a week or $14.31 per hour. The commission defended its decision saying that the wage freeze will ensure job security and will play a key role in the employment recovery when the economy will start to recover.

The decision was followed by mix reaction from different levels. The spokesman of opposition workplace relations, Michael Keenan said the decision of freezing the minimum wage was a sensible one as it would help low level workers to secure their jobs in the present economic downturn. Greg Evans, the acting chief executive of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also supported the decision saying that the low level workers are much more concerned about their job security now rather than having more money in their pocket.

On the other hand, the unions have firmly criticised the decision saying that the wage freezing will drop the real wage for the workers. According to ACTU, because of the latest decision made by Fair Pay Commission, the average workers will lose around $16 every week till the next wage decision takes place in July next year. In an interview Jeff Lawrence, the secretary of ACTU have criticised the decision saying that people with a higher income wont be affected by the decision but only the low paid workers.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard expresses her disappointment

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard also expressed her disappointment regarding the AFPC decision. In a statement, she mentioned that the decision of freezing the minimum wage for the low level workers will definitely make their lives even more difficult. In the statement, she also mentioned that the Government proposed for a wage rise for the workers and firmly believes that the Fair Pay Commission failed to make the right balance.

A significant portion of the Australian labor force works under the minimum wage condition that includes childcare workers, cleaners and people engaged in hospitality. The low paid workers received their last wage rise of $21.66 a week in 2008 which pushed their minimum wage per week to $543.78.

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