Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Warnings on Low Wages; Minimum Pay Battle Heats Up: Unions Urge $27 Rise, Business Wants $5

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Warnings on Low Wages; Minimum Pay Battle Heats Up: Unions Urge $27 Rise, Business Wants $5

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Burdon APN Newsdesk

UNIONS are pushing for the minimum wage to be increased by $27 a week, while business wants only a $5-a-week raise in submissions to the annual wage review.

The Fair Work Commission's annual wage review comes as the Productivity Commission also examines it, despite Abbott government pledges not to act unless it is re-elected.

Submissions from the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry were released yesterday.

The union council has urged the FWC to increase the pay packet for the nation's lowest-paid workers, currently $640.90 a week, arguing the wage was now at record lows, at 43% of average male weekly earnings.

But the ACCI, representing small and medium businesses, has urged the commission to raise the wage by $5.70 a week at most, reiterating its argument higher wages could increase unemployment.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said the pay rise was essential to avoid "creating an underclass of working poor", saying there were already signs many were suffering from financial stress and poverty. …

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