For a $20/hour minimum wage

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for an increase to the minimum wage – from the current $16.87 an hour to $17.58. Such a raise would give low paid workers an extra $27 per week.

By Amy Neve, Socialist Party

Business groups have predictably opposed the increase, falsely arguing that it would put a strain on businesses wanting to hire new staff. There is no evidence to suggest that lower wages lead to higher employment levels. Low pay rates merely mean increased profits for employers.

While an increase to $17.58 would be a step in the right direction workers need at least $20 an hour to cover high costs of living. Side by side with a $20 an hour minimum wage the Socialist Party demands that penalty rates are protected and paid to all workers.

Youth wages should be scrapped and all workers should be granted equal access to employment protection, sick pay and holiday pay. In order to provide job security to all, casualisation should be ended with all workers given the right to permanent employment if they want it.

These are the policies the ACTU should fight for in order to reduce the increasing gap between rich and poor.