The ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) had called for a $43 a week rise, however most business groups wanted the rise limited to $13 to $14.40 per week in line with inflation.The ACTU claim was significantly higher than the above-inflation $24.30-a-week rise granted by the commission last year, stating that the increase was a "step in the right direction" but fell far short of re-establishing the living wage and ensuring that no worker lived in poverty.
The ACCI (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Chief Executive James Pearson said employers were concerned the three per cent rise "will put jobs in danger and risk the viability of some small businesses". ACCI had urged the commission to grant a maximum $12.95-a-week increase, describing it as an "appropriate and prudent level of increase".
"Australia already has one of the highest minimum wages in the world, and continuously increasing minimum wages by significantly more than inflation has consequences," Mr Pearson said.
"These increases will make it that much harder for more than 680,000 of our fellow Australians who are unemployed, and a further 1.1 million underemployed, to find a job or more hours of work.
"We hope today's decision the 10th straight annual increase in excess of inflation, and the third of 3 per cent or more restores a sense of perspective to the minimum wage debate. Recent attempts to portray Australia's minimum wage rules as failing working people are misplaced. It is time to get back to facts and encourage collaboration not conflict between employers and employees."
"This is a welcome pay rise for millions of low paid workers, especially in the face of further penalty rate cuts in a few weeks,'' he said. "We have a long way to go to ensure that the minimum wage is enough for workers to live on and support their families.
"No one in Australia should be living in poverty while working full time, but we know that thousands of people are facing this reality."
Originally published via The Australian
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