Statement from Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary, United Voice: 57 cents an hour makes no meaningful difference to our members working full time across Australia – workers who educate, care for, protect, clean, serve, feed, and produce for our community – who are struggling to raise their families, pay the bills and make ends meet.
57 cents an hour won’t comfort a cleaner who’s afraid to put on the heaters, fearful of how they can pay the winter electricity bills. 57 cents won’t make a meaningful difference to our aged care members working full time who can’t afford a medical bill or a new pair of football boots for their kids.
What it does mean is continued inequity and struggling to get by.
The reality for our award-reliant members is that today’s minimum wage rise of 3% does not make up for the years of neglect by an out of touch system that doesn’t understand low paid workers. 57 cents an hour will not remedy historically low wage growth in the face of real cost of living pressures.
Added to this, 700,000 hospitality and retail workers are just weeks away from the next 10 percentage point penalty rate cut. 57 cents an hour is cold comfort to those 700,000 workers facing their third annual pay cut.
Australia’s low paid workers face hostile winds. The Fair Work Commission has demonstrated it is out of touch and simply doesn’t understand the intense financial pressures facing minimum wage and award-reliant workers. The emboldened Morrison government is openly hostile to workers fighting for a better deal through their unions and gleefully pursues a low-wage economic strategy.
The message to workers is clear. It’s time to fight back. It’s time to join your union.