Working Australia, 2016: wages, families and poverty- June 2016 edition
9 June 2016
The ACCER’s main message in the June edition of Working Australia, 2016: wages, families and poverty is that the wages safety net is failing to keep workers and their families out of poverty and provide them with a standard of living that is appropriate by reference to contemporary Australian living standards. We believe that there is widespread support for the principle that full time work should be sufficient to keep families out of poverty, at the least, in the ordinary cases in which working families find themselves. The real debate in wage setting is not about whether workers should be protected against poverty (they should), but how we identify and use the relevant evidence; and how we close the gap. That is why we have given close attention to the definitions and measurement of poverty and to comparative living standards.
We also describe how the position of low paid workers and their families relative to Australian society in general and to some particular sectors of it has deteriorated over the past 15 years. There is no doubt about this. The important issue is why it has been allowed to happen over more than a decade of enormous national economic growth, despite the Global Financial Crisis.
Our principal objective is to increase the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to the point where it can be fairly described as a living wage. We argue that the wage rates for a large number of low paid award work classifications do not provide a living wage. The relief of poverty and the addressing of the needs of the neediest workers should have priority in minimum wage setting. Poverty and low living standards should be targeted over successive wage cases. We propose that it be commenced in two ways: by the awarding of uniform money increases (not percentage increases) to all award rates of pay and the awarding of a greater increase in the NMW.
This year ACCER claimed an increase in the NMW of $25.10 per week, or 3.8%, and a uniform increase of $19.00 in respect of the award rates of pay. At the trade-qualified C10 wage rate the award claim amounts to an increase of 2.5%.
On 31 May 2016 the Fair Work Commission awarded a uniform increase of 2.4% to the NMW and all award increases. The 2016 decision, like earlier decisions, failed to target poverty. The “one size fits all” approach cannot target poverty and provide sufficient assistance to the neediest sections of the Australian workforce.
Annual Wage Review 2015 -2016: ACCER Submission in Reply
15 April 2016
This submission by Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations (ACCER) is made by way of reply to two of the initial submissions lodged with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the Annual Wage Review 2015-16 - United Voice and the Australian Government.
Read the complete submission: ACCER AWR Submission in Reply April 2016
Working Australia, 2016: wages, families and poverty, April 2016
This book is the product of a number of submissions made to national minimum wage reviews over the past decade or so by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations (ACCER). Minimum wage setting is one of the most important areas of Australian public policy. Decisions made in the annual reviews have an immediate impact on the lives of the lowest paid workers and their families and a wider impact on Australian society. Despite this, the issues and evidence considered in wage reviews are little-known in the broader community. To help promote wider knowledge of these matters ACCER decided to change the format and presentation of its 2014 submission and to publish a free of charge ebook incorporating the submission.
This is the third ebook in a series which is intended to keep readers familiar with the continuing and emerging issues in wage setting. The book has nine chapters and appendices. Chapter 9 is ACCER's March 2016 submission to the Annual Wage Review 2015-16. The book has been written in a way that requires no special familiarity with wage setting, with the chapters being designed to build on each other. We suggest you read chapter 9 first.