Low-paid workers in COVID-stressed industries could be hit by a second year of delayed minimum wage increases as the Fair Work Commission examines whether to again stagger pay rises for 2.2 million workers. Source: The Australian.
Citing the winding up of the JobKeeper scheme and doubts over the vaccination rollout, employers in hard-hit sectors are urging the commission to either impose a 12-month minimum wage freeze or delay pay increases in industries adversely impacted by the COVID-19 economic shock by up to seven months.
But business is facing strong resistance from unions, which are pushing the commission to abandon the staggered approach to pay rises taken at the height of the pandemic and award a 3.5 per cent pay rise to all minimum-wage and award-reliant workers from July 1.
Commission president Iain Ross has sought the views of the Morrison Government, the ACTU and employers on what action it should take in this year’s review to “deal with” its previous decision to delay rises in impacted industries until as late as February this year.
Workers in industries most affected by the pandemic, including accommodation and food services, arts, retail trade, aviation and tourism had to wait seven months for a 1.75 per cent rise.
Under last year’s decision, workers in less-affected industries, including construction and manufacturing, had their pay rise delayed until last November while frontline workers and those in industries least impacted by the pandemic received an increase in July.
Employers urge delaying minimum wage rise (By Ewin Hannan, The Australian)