Pay rates for truck drivers need to rise on July 1

By: Brad Gardner


Truck drivers employed on an award must receive a 2.5 per cent pay rise next month.

 

Truck drivers employed under an award are set to receive a modest pay rise on July 1.

The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) annual wage review panel this week ruled that minimum wages for employees on awards must rise by 2.5 per cent when the new financial year begins.

It means drivers employed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award or the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award will receive more in their pay packet in the coming weeks.

Furthermore, trucking firms with enterprise agreements must make sure their rates are at least equal to award-level wages when the pay rise takes effect.

The FWC panel also decided to increase the national minimum wage by 2.5 per cent.

It will rise to $656.90 per week, or $17.29 per hour, when the new financial year begins.

"This constitutes an increase of $16 per week to the weekly rate of 42 cents per hour to the hourly rate," FWC president Iain Ross says.

The ruling marks a lower wage increase compared to last year (3 per cent).

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) sought a $27 per week increase, but the FWC says a reduction in inflation and wages growth justifies a 2.5 per cent rise.

"The lower inflation and aggregate wages growth has favoured a more modest increase in minimum wages," Ross says.

"Further, the unemployment rate has grown steadily from its recent low of 4.9 per cent in March 2011, to 6.1 per cent in April 2015 and there are other signs of under-utilisation in the workforce."

The ACTU says the 2.5 per cent increase is not enough to close a growing gap between average and minimum wages, putting pressure on Australia’s lowest paid workers.

"Every year that gap is getting wider and wider and will see Australia head down the path of an entrenched US style working poor," ACTU secretary Dave Oliver says.

"This decision won’t relieve the stress on low income households in the face of increasing healthcare, education and childcare costs.

Employer representative body the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) claims the 2.5 per cent wage increase will put strain of businesses and have a negative impact on job seekers.

"While the increase will no doubt be welcomed by workers with secure jobs, there is the clear risk that the increase will operate against the the interests of those looking for work, or for more hours of work than currently on offer, and those whose jobs are less secure," Ai Group CEO Innes Willox says.

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