Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten has attacked ‘fat cat’ bosses as he throws his support behind a union proposal to increase the minimum wage by $43 a week.
The Fair Work Commission would have to deliver a $2,200 annual pay rise to 2.3 million low-paid workers if Mr Shorten’s union-backed plan is successful.
Labour leader Bill Shorten called Australian bosses ‘fat cats’ as he supported a union proposal to increase the weekly minimum wage by $43
However, small business owners and employer groups are opposed to Shorten’s plan, which comes as his party leads the Coalition in polls.
‘I love this argument put aside by the bosses of Australia, the fat cats, the top end of town,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘They say if we pay the poorest workers in Australia a bit more, that’s out of control. But how is it that the executives are happy to take more and more in corporate profits?’
The Fair Work Commission, which sets the minimum wage, is an independent body that operates under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Mr Shorten has suggested a Labor government could use ‘another tool or mechanism … to change legislation’ to boost the minimum wage instead of relying solely on the commission.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is against governments using legislation when the rate of pay rises has been set by an independent body for more than a century.
‘Australians living on the minimum wage desperately need a pay rise,’ according to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (Bill Shorten pictured)
‘No one in Australia should be forced to work below the poverty line but that is exactly what the current minimum wage guarantees,’ Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus said.
The ACTU is pushing for a six per cent rise to the weekly minimum wage equating to $762.20 a week, up from $719.20, this year.
A living wage is 60 per cent of the average national median wage, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The ACTU wants a further 5.5 per cent increase in 2020 to $852 a week to achieve their living wage target.
Australia’s minimum wage is $18.93 an hour or $719.20 per 38 hour week before tax.
Australia’s minimum wage is $18.93 an hour or $719.20 per 38 hour week before tax. The ACTU is pushing for a six per cent rise to the weekly minimum wage equating to $762.20 a week
Council of Small Business Australia CEO Peter Strong said the idea is ‘impractical’ for small businesses and would make goods more expensive for consumers.
‘We’re not against pay rises. This isn’t a war between employers and employees. Staff know to have a job the business needs to be profitable,’ he said.
‘A lot of small businesses would need to retrench by cutting down hours or letting staff go.’
Council of Small Business Australia CEO Peter Strong said the idea is ‘impractical’ for small businesses and would make goods more expensive for consumers