Union members win award wage increase, ensuring wages stay above inflation

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UWU members at the Fair Work Commission (Photo: UWU)

Union members have won about a $2000 per year pay boost for close to three million workers on modern awards. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing, this is an important win in our battle to ensure all workers can keep wages increasing in line with inflation.  

Today, the Fair Work Commission awarded an increase of 3.75 per cent for workers on modern awards. For the average award worker, the increase will represent about an extra $40 in your weekly wages. The increase comes after thousands of United Workers Union members took action over the last few months to fight for better pay via our Low Pay No Way campaign.   

The new rates were announced by the Fair Work Commission on June 3 after they completed their annual wage review. The rates begin in July, and are effective from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2024.  Workers on the national minimum wage will see their wages increase  from $23.23 to $24.10 per hour.  

This decision will be a welcome relief to countless UWU members in award-reliant industries like aged care, cleaning, disability support, early education, hospitality and security. Members covered under enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs) already earn wages above the award minimum and won’t automatically receive this increase. This decision does not affect members on state-based awards. However, when the award minimum increases this helps UWU members everywhere push for more.   

The Commission has identified 13 awards that likely have gender-based undervaluation to some or all classifications, including members in early education. Unions have requested an extra 4 per cent increase on top of the 2024 increase.  The commission also announced it has mapped out a pathway to increase wages in industries like Early Childhood Education over the coming year due to historic undervaluation of industries dominated by women workers. 

During this year’s award wage review process, the Fair Work Commission again received first-hand accounts from UWU members about the impact of rising costs on workers and their households, and the reasons why we’ve been calling for continued award wage increases.  

The Fair Work Commission heard from a range of groups including unions, employers, charities and not-for-profits. Federal and state governments also made submissions supporting union claims that workers are still in need of a substantial wage increase to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living. 

This year’s decision is a major rebuke to employer groups trying to protect their skyrocketing profits by demanding that workers receive an increase of just two per cent. That would have meant a cut to workers’ wages by about $1000 per year in real terms.    

Union member should be proud of their contribution to this wage increase (Photo: UWU)

In its decision, the Fair Work Commission agreed with UWU members that a real increase was necessary to help workers keep up with the rising cost of living. This year’s increase builds last year’s increase of 5.75 per cent, which was the largest increase ever awarded.  Employers were unable to make the case that last year’s record wage increase, Labor’s stage 3 tax cuts and energy relief payments would be enough to keep workers’ wages ahead of inflation. 

As UWU members, we should feel incredibly proud of the critical role we played helping win this wage increase. It’s an important reminder that workers are so much stronger when we stand together. Employers can make any arguments they like, but the power of numbers is what wins change. 

Also remember, the previous Coalition Government presided over 10 years of wage stagnation and said low wages was a “deliberate design feature” of their policies. 

Now Peter Dutton is planning to strip away protections, making it easier to sack workers and bringing back WorkChoices-style individual contracts. 

These are the attacks on your work rights and pay that Peter Dutton and the Coalition want to put into action. 

In contrast, real wages over the past year grew under a Labor Government, in line with their promise to get wages moving again. 

If you’re not a union member yet, now is a great time to join.   

Since March UWU members have taken part in close to 10,000 separate actions. This has included speaking out online and in the media, giving evidence to the Fair Work Commission via UWU’s submission, as well as signing our petition to the Fair Work Commission to support our claim for better pay. 

We also put a big spotlight on myths and misinformation churned out by employer lobbyists who are determined to avoid paying working people decent wages for our hard work.  

 

PRE-ORDER our Expert Guide To Award Wages. FREE to UWU members!

Promo image of forthcoming UWU Expert Guide to Award Wages.

 

The 2024 edition of UWU’s Expert Guide To Award Wages is coming out in early July. It’s FREE for UWU members and explains how to get your 2024 award wage increase. Find out:

  • Important info about the 2024 award pay rise.
  • Does is it apply to you?
  • Your award wage checklist.
  • Wage theft alert: tips on how to find out if you’re being underpaid & win back stolen wages.
  • Explainer: modern awards vs enterprise agreements.
  • More handy tips and expert union advice.

GET EVERY CENT YOU'RE ENTITLED TO - REQUEST YOUR COPY HERE

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