Commission urges more help for low paid families
The Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations yesterday called for an increase in the minimum wage at the 2005 Minimum Wage Case in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
The Commission (ACCER) also argued for research into the needs of low paid workers and their families.
ACCER is seeking a $26.60 a week increase in the Federal Minimum Wage, currently $467.40 per week before tax.
ACCER's views were contained in its submission to what could be the last national wage case for the country's lowest paid workers continue in Melbourne. The Howard government is expected to shake up the federal industrial relations system, which is likely to include changes in the way the minimum wage is determined.
ACCER represents the Catholic Church in national matters concerning industrial relations. The Church has a strong tradition of social teaching on the employment relationship. It employs approximately 100,000 workers and has numerous employers in health and aged care, community services, education and parish activities.
Executive Officer John Ryan said the $26.60 a week increase is needed because "the Federal Minimum Wage must meet the needs of the worker and his or her family".
"It should be sufficient to enable one parent to be in the paid workforce and the other to work in the home and for them to be able to support two children and achieve an acceptable standard of living," he siad. "They must be able to live with dignity."
Mr Ryan also called for a less adversarial approach than that adopted by the parties in recent years. He said "there is a need for research to identify the needs of low paid workers and their families to make ends meet, the industries and occupations in which they work, their longer term employment opportunities and the measures for assisting them to move beyond the trap of low skills, uncertain employment and taxation and welfare barriers."
Australian Associated Press reported yesterday that the union movement and business groups remained split.
Business and the government have countered the ACTU's claim with an offer of no more than $11 a week for the 1.6 million workers who rely on federal awards. State governments support an increase of $20 a week. If the full claim was awarded, it would be the largest increase to the minimum wage ever granted by the commission.
Catholic body calls for greater assistance to low paid families (Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations 13/4/05)
Historic national wage case continues (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 14/4/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations
Australian Industrial Relations Commission
Commission escalates push for low paid workers (CathNews 23/2/04)
14 Apr 2005