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Australian workers shouldn’t be forced to live week to week or prioritise who they should see due to a lack of petrol in their car, but these are the choices being made by everyday Australians due to low wages.
On Wednesday at the Fair Work Commission, workers from across industries came together with ACTU Secretary Sally McManus to encourage the Morrison Government to institute a 3.5% increase to the minimum wage.
Hospo Voice member Grace says she is struggling financially as she lives week to week on her low wages.
“I don’t think that I’m alone in saying I live week-to-week on my hospitality wages. I think that in saying that I represent the majority of the workforce, we are already significantly underpaid in my opinion.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult to do things like travel to and from work, affording things like medication and medical services. It’s already incredible challenging and only going to get worse without a pay rise.”
HACSU member Cathal, who works in the disability sector, says he stays in his job because he loves it, despite the low wage.
“It’s not a high paid industry. We’re working on the SCHADS Award, so it’s tough to get by. I love my job and I love working in it, but I’m not putting away a lot of money every month in savings. I’m just ticking by, really.
“A 3.5% pay increase would be massive. Just that little bit of peace of mind that there’s the extra money coming into my pocket every week that I can put away should anything happen. Just that piece of mind knowing there’s a little bit of a safety net there, knowing I’m not in trouble.”
For SDA member Jeremy, his low wages impact his travel to and from work, and his ability to see his family.
“I’m already paid at a very low rate which makes it hard enough. With wages being frozen it affects me immediately, prices are going up for everything and I’m already being paid low enough that I can’t afford to go without an increase.
“The real issue for me is I can’t afford petrol a lot of the time, petrol prices are going up, my wage isn’t, and I can’t afford petrol to get to work, to drive my brothers around, drive my family around. I can’t afford to do that when I’m not paid the right amount.”
Australian workers shouldn’t be forced to make these choices.
Have your say and let this Government know they should increase the minimum wage, sign the petition here.