The Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review last week handed down a 5.2% increase to the minimum wage, along with a proposal for Modern award minimum wages to be increased by 4.6%, commencing 1 July 2022. For workers under some awards in the airline, hospitality and resort industries these changes will be phased in from 1 October 2022.
The increase will make a meaningful difference for workers on minimum wage who have been struggling to make ends meet with rising cost of living. It will also be a welcome relief for those who feared an outcome locking in real wage cuts. That being said, with inflation of 5.8% in Tasmania over the last twelve months, and speculation that it could rise as high as 7% by the end of 2022, the reality is that wages are still going backwards.
Tasmania was the sole State Government not to make a submission to the Annual Wage Review. The Morrison Government lobbied against an increase to real wages, arguing that it was important to our economy that we had low –paid workers. The reality is that it was down to the efforts of working people campaigning for change that we’re seeing this – including a change of Government in Canberra to one more willing to advocate for all average workers, not just the top end of town.
As CPSU Assistant Secretary Tom Lynch pointed in a recent column, business profits doubled from last year to 21.6%. While industry lobbies insist wage rises will fuel inflation, they happily overlook the explosion of their share of Australia’s national income – which seemingly has no effect on inflation. Clearly the odds are stacked against workers. It’s time we had a serious look at the laws behind our industrial bargaining system which allow this exploitation to occur.
Tasmania was the first state to scrap a government wage cap policy without changing the Government. We won because we stood together in our thousands, organising, taking action, speaking to colleagues and encouraging them to join the campaign. It’s up to us, as union members, to defend the standards and conditions we all depend on. It’s also time we campaign to change the rules, so that workers get a fairer seat at the bargaining table.
Speak to your colleagues about joining the CPSU today at https://www.cpsu.com.au/join/