So Much For Social Justice
21st September 2005
The ACTU's announcement that it will apply for another increase in the
minimum wage to over $26,000 per annum coincides with the publication of
employment data showing a reduction over the past year of 27,400 in the
employment of labourers and an increase of only 6,800 in employment of all
low-skilled workers at a time when total employment rose by 236,000. Why do
the low-skilled find it so difficult to get jobs?
Part of the answer is that Australia's minimum wage is set at a level (the
second highest relative to the average in OECD countries) that seriously
deters their employment. But in addition to our 550,000 unemployed there are
over 800,000 who say they would like a job. Yet (astonishingly) the
Australian Industrial Relations Commission admitted when it last increased
the minimum wage that its decision did not take account of those who are not
employed. Nor of course does the ACTU: it is only concerned with "the
workers". So much for social justice.