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ACTU pushes for 5% wage hike amidst employer resistance

Debate intensifies over proposed wage increase in Australia.

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ACTU’s suggested pay hike would elevate the national minimum wage to $24.39 per hour.
The wage review poised to affect nearly 2.8 million award and minimum wage earners.
ACTU is pushing for a 5% pay rise.

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is pushing for a 5% pay rise in the upcoming annual wage review, arguing that businesses are well positioned to afford higher wages given their robust profits.

However, this proposal is encountering strong resistance from employers, setting the stage for a heated debate as the Fair Work Commission gears up for its review, according to a report by news.com.au.

Secretary of the ACTU, Sally McManus, stressed the importance of a substantial pay increase, stating, “The lowest paid workers are disproportionately affected by inflation; they require a 5 per cent pay raise to start catching up and offsetting the real wage losses experienced over recent years.”

If implemented, the ACTU’s suggested pay hike would elevate the national minimum wage to $24.39 per hour or $926.82 per week, up from the current $23.23 per hour or $882.74, as reported by news.com.au.

The review will encompass nearly 2.8 million award and minimum wage earners

Despite the ACTU’s arguments, recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates a downturn in profits outside of the mining sector, complicating the case for a significant wage boost.

Furthermore, concerns about inflation persist, with the Reserve Bank warning that price growth in the labor-intensive services sector remains stubborn, the news article noted.

In contrast to the ACTU’s stance, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is advocating for a more conservative approach, proposing an increase of “not more than 2 per cent.”

ACCI Chief Executive, Andrew McKellar, emphasised the need to strike a balance between wage growth and the cost pressures faced by businesses, stressing the importance of fostering conditions conducive to employment.

“What we are witnessing is clearly a situation where wages are one of the persistent cost factors that businesses are grappling with at the moment,” McKellar commented in news.com.au.

“Let’s ensure that we maintain conditions that encourage businesses to hire as much as possible.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hinted at the government’s stance on the matter, suggesting that the minimum wage should be tied to the latest inflation rate to prevent those on minimum wage from falling behind. This position underscores the government’s cautious approach to wage adjustments in light of ongoing economic uncertainties.

With the wage review poised to affect nearly 2.8 million award and minimum wage earners, the outcome of this debate will carry significant implications for both workers and businesses.

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