Unions cautiously welcome minimum wage boost

Queensland Industrial Relations Commission awards $16.20 per week pay increase for low-paid workers

August 21, 2009

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has awarded a $16.20 per week pay increase for low-paid workers.

Today’s decision will see the State minimum wage rise to $568.20 per week from September 1, 2009.

The Consumer Price Index to June 30 was 2.5 percent - the equivalent of today’s increase.

Queensland unions have cautiously welcomed the decision, but warned that those relying on the minimum wage continued to lag behind workers with bargained wage outcomes.

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) had advocated a $27.80 per week increase; while industry groups had called for a wages freeze.

QCU General Secretary Ron Monaghan says that those relying on the minimum wage are predominantly females in casual employment working for small businesses in non-unionised workplaces.

"State breakdowns are extremely difficult to determine but we estimate there are around 1.3 million such workers throughout Australia in industries such as childcare, hospitality and cleaning.

"These workers have no capacity to bargain for their wages and conditions and are therefore relying on minimum wage increases.

"Even though we welcome the Commission’s decision to award an increase consistent with CPI, we would have liked to see a bigger increase to ensure these vulnerable workers are not left behind the eight-ball," he says.

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