Update: 8 May 2022
The Australian union movement revised its Annual Wage Review claim from 5% to 5.5% to ensure that the quarter of the workforce who rely on pay increases provided by the Review do not go backwards in the midst of the Morrison Government’s accelerating cost of living crisis.
A pay rise of 5.5% for the one in four workers who rely on the outcome of Annual Wage Review for wage growth aims to ensure that they do not go backwards in real terms.
If you’ve noticed your pay is no longer keeping up with the rising cost of groceries, petrol or rent, you’re not alone.
That’s why each year Australian Unions works to increase the minimum wage. To make sure our wages keep up with the cost of living.
But how do we get an increase to the minimum wage and what does it mean for you?
Let’s break it down.
We literally can’t afford low wages
2.3 million Australians are paid the minimum wage. Almost two-thirds of these workers are women.
The current minimum wage sits at just $20.33 per hour or $772.60 per week if you are working full-time.
Each industry has its own specific minimum wage, which are set in industry Awards.
This year the cost of living is predicted to increase by between 4.5 to 5%.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus says that without a decent minimum wage increase, Australian workers will struggle to “keep their heads above water”.
“If this Government is serious about addressing cost of living pressures, it starts with wage growth,” she says.
As the cost of everything rises, our wages need to rise as well. If wages increases are less than the increase in cost of living, it means that you’ve had a pay cut.
What the Annual Wage Review could change for you
Right now, the Fair Work Commission is conducting the Annual Wage Review.
The Annual Wage Review is a process where the Fair Work Commission reviews and sets the minimum wages and pay rates in Awards for the next year in Australia.
Australian Unions puts in a submission each year calling for workers to have decent wage increases, while big business lobbies for minimal increases or even cuts.
Even though minimum wage and award wage workers received a 2.5% pay rise last year, this was completely eaten up by increased inflation. So in real terms, wages went backwards by more than $800 for the average worker.
Australian Unions are pushing for minimum wage workers to receive a 5% pay rise that they need and deserve.
And unions are calling on Scott Morrison to support our claim for a 5% wage increase.
“We would welcome his Government’s support,” Ms McManus says.
“If they don’t support a serious increase in the Annual Wage Review, then they are not serious about wage growth.”
Union members move forward for decent wages
The change would see an hourly rate increase from $20.33 to $21.35. That may not sound like much, but it can mean the difference of making rent, putting fuel in the car, or paying for an extra day of childcare.
A lift of the annual rate by $2,008.76 per year would be a real life-line for the almost three million workers in unreliable or Award-reliant jobs.
Australia’s living standards and wages need to stop going backwards. Wage increases need to more than cover the rising cost of living – we need a genuine living wage.
Union members have been making sure that no worker is left behind, even in the face of Morrison Government inaction.
Workers in Australian unions continue to negotiate higher pay in ways that ensure all members get a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
Get paid a fair rate
The best way to help increase wages for all is to become a union member