The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for a $30 a week increase in the minimum wage, taking it to $686.90 a week or $18.08 per hour.

In its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, the ACTU indicated that minimum wage levels are sitting at 43.8 percent of average weekly full time earnings, up slightly on last year’s record low of 43.4 percent.

The ACTU said it’s concerned about the impact “shrinking wages” will have on inequality, with labour productivity growing faster than wages.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said “A $30 a week rise for our lowest paid workers is vital if we're to halt the alarming slide in living standards that is threatening the economic wellbeing of one in five Australians.”

Despite these “shrinking wages” other key economic indicators are positive. Australian economic growth of three percent in the past 12 months outpaced most OECD countries and Fair Work data shows that business bankruptcy rates are at a record low while the number of business overall grew by one percent in 2014-15.

 “The Treasurer says the economy is picking up steam and corporate profits are rebounding, but wage growth has stalled despite Australian workers being more productive than ever,” Oliver said.

“It's time to give minimum wage workers a pay rise.

“The Turnbull government cannot sit on its hands on an issue so important to millions of Australia’s lowest paid workers – I would be extremely disappointed if they failed to make a submission to the Fair Work Commission in support of a wage rise,” he said.

Over half of all hospitality workers earn the minimum wage, and compared to all workers, minimum wage workers are more likely to be employed on a part time or casual basis.


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