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Freeze ACCI's wages instead.

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Hon Arch Bevis MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations


4th FEBRUARY 1999




Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Arch Bevis today denounced a proposed application by the Australi an Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to defer next month’s Living Wage Claim hearing before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, describing it as an affront to every low income earner.


“Moves by ACCI and the Government to freeze wages make a mockery of Mr Howard’s iron clad promise in 1996 that no Australian worker would be worse off under his Government.


“For many millions of workers, increases to award wages are the only source of wage increases. ACCI proposes that the lowest paid workers suffer further in order to assist employment growth. Tell that to their families, when they read of the Government’s proposed 40% wage increases to senior public servants and the million dollar salaries of corporate management. It is the responsibility of the Government of the day to provide the economic stimulus for jobs growth, not the working poor.


“ACCI’s proposal to have minimum wage rates replace award rates for the purpose of applying the no disadvantage test during enterprise bargaining negotiations, potentially would result in a wage cut of $364.30 per week for workers on average weekly earnings. It demonstrates an underhanded attempt to further reduce award conditions, even after awards have been stripped back during the simplification process. Every award worker will be adversely affected by this proposal.


“Some of the executives of ACCI member companies are paid more in one week than the ACTU minimum wage claim would give a low paid worker in a whole year. Perhaps ACCI should lead by example and support a wages freeze on their own incomes or on executive salaries, in order to promote employment growth”, Mr Bevis said.


For further information:  Moira Farrelly 07 3356 1888  0408 440 580