Wage push for low-paid

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UNIONS want a $26-a-week pay rise for the low­est paid work­ers this July.

The ACTU has lodged its sub­mis­sion to Fair Work Australia’s an­nual wage re­view to in­crease the award wage to a min­i­mum $615.30 a week from July 1, say­ing wages are not keep­ing pace with the cost of liv­ing.

ACTU sec­re­tary Jeff Lawrence says it is time for an in­crease that would stop the gap be­tween low-paid work­ers and those bet­ter off from grow­ing fur­ther.

‘‘ The 1.4 mil­lion work­ers on award wages – one in six work­ers – can barely meet the cost of liv­ing, let alone live com­fort­ably in an econ­omy that is the envy of the de­vel­oped world,’’ Lawrence says.

‘‘ It is grossly un­fair that min­i­mum wages have fallen fur­ther and fur­ther be­hind av­er­age wages.’’

Lawrence says if the min­i­mum wage had kept pace with over­all wages growth since 2005, it would be $617.50 a week, in­stead of the cur­rent $589.30 a week.

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