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Wages in election spotlight for printers

Friday, 17 May 2019
By Jake Nelson

With a tight federal election just one day away, the issue of minimum wage increases could help printers make up their minds.

The Opposition has pledged to withdraw its existing submission to the Fair Work Commission on the annual minimum wage review if it wins office tomorrow, replacing it with a new one that will focus on a “real” increase to the minimum wage. This would likely delay the FWC’s ruling, normally expected at the end of May or in early June, said Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA.

ALP win could mean “significant uncertainty”: Andrew Macaulay, PIAA.

“If the ALP wins the election and follows through with its election commitment to make a new submission to the annual wage review process, this will create significant uncertainty for employers, including small business employers who take the FWC’s decision into account when setting their wage rates each financial year,” he said.

Most employers are seeking a minimum wage increase of no higher than 1.8 per cent, while unions want a “living wage”, translating to a six per cent increase this year and a further 5.5 per cent in 2020, Macaulay added.

“The PIAA has previously voiced its concerns about the ACTU’s push for a ‘living wage’, and if the ALP wins office, the ‘living wage’ will be one step closer to becoming reality,” he said.

Minimum wage rise “urgently” needed: Lorraine Cassin, AMWU.

According to Lorraine Cassin, national print division secretary at AMWU, however, the minimum wage has not moved enough over recent years.

“CEO pay and company profits are at record highs while workers’ wages are barely keeping up with the cost of living. We urgently need a rise in the minimum wage so that we don’t develop a class of working poor here in Australia.

“We welcome Labor’s announcement that they would make a new submission to the Fair Work Commission in support of a higher minimum wage. We represent many print workers reliant on the award wage, for whom a pay rise would make a real difference in their ability to pay for their mortgages or rent, their groceries, their fuel, and their bills,” she said.

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