Fair Work Commission awards wage rise, but says inequality increasing. (Article by Ewin Hannan for The Australian)

5 June 2014

The following statements from Fair Work Commission President Justice Iain Ross are concerning. When put in the context of the warnings being circulated by leading social service advocacies and institutions in relation to the effects of the budget on lower income workers, Justice Ross's comments become alarming. We have a worrying situation where the Commission is openly acknowledging that low income earners are having their living standards reduced and their capacity to meet basic needs impacted.

“While real earnings have generally increased over the past decade, earnings inequality is increasing,’’ the commission said.

“Over the past five years, the rate of growth in average earnings and bargained rates of pay have outstripped the growth in minimum wages for award-reliant workers.

“This has reduced the relative living standards of award-reliant workers and reduced the capacity of the low paid to meet their needs, needs being a relative concept.