Hunter Workers call for minimum wage increase

Courtney Hardwick

9 June 2021

Hunters Workers supports ACTU (Australian Council of Trades Union) urging the Fair Work Commission to increase minimum wage by 3.5% for Australian workers.

Hunters Workers supports ACTU (Australian Council of Trades Union) urging the Fair Work Commission to increase minimum wage by 3.5% for Australian workers. This increase would provide a pay raise for a quarter of all working people and offer a much-needed boost from the record low wage growth over the last 8 years.

A significant minimum wage rise would come as a great relief to Hunter Workers who have been hit hard by increased cost of living fuelled by housing and rental market shortages. Since JobKeeper was cut it is estimated there has been a 70% increase of Novocastrians living in housing stress.

Economic data has proven a wage increase is affordable and would share benefits of the Covid-19 economic recovery with working people.

The Liberal government has opposed a minimum wage raise in their submission to the Fair Work Commission claiming the increase would threaten economic recovery and employment. However key economists have disagreed with this assertion, pointing out that profits are up by 15% and business should be able to afford wage increases.

Many of these workers were considered frontline essential workers who got us through the 2020 pandemic lock downs but are now not considered essential enough for a fair minimum wage increase to keep up with the cost of living.

Businesses that would benefit most from a wage freeze are those with the largest quantity of award workers like supermarkets and retail chains. The same businesses who profited massively over 2020.

Meanwhile small local businesses are struggling to recover as weak spending and low confidence among consumers is ongoing. Without a significant wage rise it is unlikely consumer spending will substantially increase.

“The Prime Minister and Treasurer told us it was fine to cut JobKeeper because the economy is recovering, and now they’re telling us workers shouldn’t have a pay rise because the economy is faltering. The reality is libs love low wages and they’ll say and do anything to keep wages low. Working people have borne the brunt of the health and economic crisis and it’s working people again that are bearing the cost of the recovery. Hunter Workers deserve a pay rise.” Leigh Shears, Hunter Workers Secretary.