Minimum wage workers need a pay increase but Morrison would rather see real wages go backwards

Published: 09/05/2022
Category: Minimum wage
Published: 09/05/2022
Category: Minimum wage

What does it take to make sure we don’t have to worry about being able to pay the bill at the supermarket or the petrol station? The simple answer: higher wages including an increased minimum wage. 

Key Points
  • Cost-of-living has skyrocketed to the highest rates this century 

  • Workers suffered a more than $800 pay cut last year on average 

  • Australian unions are increasing our Annual Wage Review claim to call for a 5.5% increase in wages

  • Current minimum wage is just $20.33 per hour 

  • More than 2.5 million workers would benefit from an increase in wages through the Annual Wage Review 

  • Support the Australia union movement’s claim for a 5.5% wage increase here. 

The Morrison Government admitted in its own federal budget predictions that the cost-of-living was going to rise to bad levels. But with inflation at more than 5% it’s so much worse and it is workers who are bearing the brunt.  

According to the ABS, the average worker will receive a real pay cut of nearly $2,000 in the first half of this year, adding to the stress of wages going backwards by $800 last year.   

That’s why the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is raising its Annual Wage Review claim from 5% to 5.5%. We can’t have a quarter of the workforce who rely on this increase left behind.   

ACTU secretary Sally McManus called out the silence from Morrison when it came to supporting the necessary minimum wage increase.  

“Scott Morrison’s Government’s submission to the Fair Work Commission is silent on backing a pay increase that keeps up with the cost of living. Instead, it dedicates a whole section to the benefits of low paid work,” she said. 

The past nine years of low wages under the Coalition have been an integral feature of their economic design. Morrison’s silence has worsened this and has shown workers what to expect if they return to power after the election.  

Just last night during the Leaders’ Debate with Opposition leader Anthony Albanese asked Morrison if he thought all workers should be paid the minimum wage. 

“It depends,” Morrison said. 

““I mean if you are running a business, I can tell you who doesn’t get the minimum wage necessarily – small business owners when the money is not coming in,” he said. 

And the prime minister wasn’t too keen on gig workers getting the minimum wage either.  

“They are working for themselves, that’s why they do it,” he said. 

But the report Missing in Action: Morrison’s record of failure on secure jobs has shown 3 out of 4 insecure workers have struggled under worsening living costs and felt the Morrison Government has let them down. 

“Scott Morrison’s failure to act to back working people is a danger to the economy,” McManus said.  

Every dollar working people lose in real terms is a dollar not spent in local businesses. People have already cut back discretionary spending, they will have no choice but to cut it completely as for so many workers – cleaners, aged care and retail workers, there is nothing left after the rent, groceries, and petrol. This hurts local businesses who depend on people having a bit extra to spend.

Sally McManus
ACTU secretary

Sally McManus  -  ACTU secretary

The 5.5% increase the minimum wage would lift the hourly rate in the minimum adult wage from $20.33 to $21.45. For workers living pay cheque to pay cheque, the increase will mean the difference between giving up essential items and having enough to survive escalating costs. 

But not only did Morrison refuse to support the initial Australian union’s claim for a 5% increase, he has also refused to support higher wages for aged care workers or address the worsening of insecure and unreliable jobs.  

Supporting our Annual Wage Review claim is one practical step the Morrison Government can take to support one in four workers in this country.  

Tell Scott Morrison to support our Annual Wage Review claim

Minimum wage workers need a pay increase but Morrison would rather see real wages go backwards

Minimum wage workers need a pay increase but Morrison would rather see real wages go backwards