The Fair Work Commission has decided to increase wages for a quarter of Australian workers – 5.2 per cent for those on the minimum wage and 4.6 per cent or $40 per week for those reliant on award wages, whichever is higher.
The decision puts an extra $40 a week in the pocket of a fulltime worker on the minimum wage and low-paid award workers. While this is a good outcome for these workers, there are still 8.5 million workers who don’t know where their next wage rise is coming from.
Lack of wage growth is a critical issue for Australia’s economy and needs concerted action to address it.
The current system means that despite low unemployment, high productivity and record profits, labour’s share of GDP is at a record low and Australian workers have faced a decade of record low wage growth capped by ongoing real wage cuts.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus commented, “This Annual Wage Review is one tool we have to generate wage growth, but it only affects one in four workers – we need wage growth across the economy.”