Are you getting slammed by skyrocketing costs and your wages just aren’t keeping up?  This is our big chance to fight back and demand a major increase so families can get ahead.

Are you getting slammed by skyrocketing costs and your wages just aren’t keeping up?

The Fair Work Commission is about begin its annual review of Award pay rates for close to three million workers across Australia.

This is our big chance to fight back and demand a major increase so families can get ahead.

At the end of March, UWU will make a submission to the Commission on behalf of our 150,000 members calling for a substantial increase to award pay rates.

We need your help. We are collecting stories from hundreds of workers to help explain to the Commissioners why Award pay rates are hurting us and must rise significantly.

Our stories are powerful. Last year, pressure by unions helped UWU members on award wages win a pay rise of 5.75% – the largest award increase since 1983.

The cost of living continues to increase sharply. That’s why we need to fight for a major increase to award pay rates. It’s time to speak out and use our combined power to fight for fair pay for every worker in Australia, so we can give our families a better life.


Tell your story & help us show the Fair Work Commission the real world impacts of low wages, and help build our case for a raise in Award rates.


How low wages are impacting workers:

March 19, 2024

Deb, a full-time worker from WA says:

I’ m aging and can no longer work the extra hours, so i have to budget my utilities and essentials. It’s an endless marathon of calculations which never adds up.

March 19, 2024

Matthew, a part-time worker from WA says:

Going without things..holidays away..new clothes..

March 19, 2024

Evelyn, a part-time worker from QLD says:

Well I’m the only one who works in my home, caring for our Dad with my sisters is hard. As we tend to do our grocery weekly, its not enough to cover the food. $500 used to cover food expenses. Not nowadays.

March 19, 2024

Colin, a full-time worker from ACT says:

Electricity, food and rates are through the roof

March 19, 2024

Gary, a full-time worker from SA says:

I have had to be extremely frugal with power, especially with air conditioning, even during the extreme heat we faced here in the outback this summer.
It was extremely disappointing to see the way our senior managers behaved in regard to our last attempt to get a reasonable pay rise (even “grumpy-faced” emails because we voted “No”) during the EA, choosing to back the then Liberal government in denying us a pay rise, even when the cost-of-living and housing crisis was starting to bite. It proved to us that the company doesn’t really care about us, only themselves and their bonuses, not very “Together”….

March 18, 2024

Irma, a full-time worker from VIC says:

I’m a widow & relying on single wage. Struggling to make ends meet.

March 18, 2024

Nasima, a casual worker from WA says:

the impact of low wages on me and my family has been profound and challenging. As a single parent working in the childcare industry for over 15 years, my pay rate of only 26-28 dollars per hour is simply not enough to make ends meet. This situation has forced me to leave my full-time position and rely on casual work, which often does not provide enough shifts to cover our expenses.

The struggle to pay the mortgage and my son’s fees while barely affording food has been incredibly stressful. We have had to make significant sacrifices, such as cutting back on any form of entertainment or outings as a family. This has led to a feeling of living hand-to-mouth, constantly worrying about financial stability and the future.

The pressure of trying to make ends meet with such low wages has taken a toll on my mental well-being. There is a constant sense of exhaustion and anxiety, exacerbated by the lack of support from employers who seem indifferent to our financial struggles.

A $50 per week increase in Award wages would make a significant difference in my life and the lives of many others facing similar challenges due to low wages. This increase would provide some relief from the constant financial strain and help cover essential expenses more comfortably.

March 18, 2024

Annalisa, a part-time worker from QLD says:

My wages went up recently then every item I buy in the supermarket regularly went up by 50c to $1. And for more $ the package size is smaller, such as Ritz Crackers and Roses jams. Petrol is always over $2 now (95 octane), rates and water bills are big, and our mortgage repayments, car rego, and car insurance have increased too.


March 18, 2024

Lubna, a full-time worker from VIC says:

Living hand to mouth. Last week, I had only $ 40 left, after paying my mortgage and bills. With forty dollars in my account I went to the Coles and picked only bread and butter. But my card was declined due to my insurance and I left everything in the trolley and went home. On that day I was so depressed because I was thinking about my children. What they will take to school for lunch tomorrow.

March 18, 2024

Beatrice, a part-time worker from TAS says:

I am employed with a part time contract, but we are understaffed and currently work 100 -120 hours per fortnight. That basically means not having a life anymore: getting up to go to work, getting home, having dinner and going to bed. I work on a nearly 24 hrs roster, 7 on 7 days, including public holidays of all sorts. The overtime is taxed so much, with my wage I cover all basic needs and there’s nothing left. My husband works full time as well, and in Tasmania we have the lowest wages in Australia, despite rent being no cheaper than anywhere else, and fuel and groceries being more expensive due to the extra transportation costs. If we have to pay for dentist, car repairs and similar, this puts a real strain on our finances, as one appointment with the dentist or one service usually equals a whole week pay. This proves how wages are very far from keeping up with cost of living.

March 18, 2024

Amy, a part-time worker from VIC says:

I’m 30 years old, and despite working in Early Childhood Education and Care I don’t have any children of my own because I just can’t afford it. I desperately want to be a parent but I know my wages cannot cover the expense of raising a child. It’s so depressing that it’s taking a mental and emotional toll on my health. I spend my time educating other people’s children but I can’t have my own.

I’m lucky because I can afford to save a little money each week, but with rent going up faster than wages it’s never enough to save for a house deposit.

An extra $50 doesn’t sound like a lot, but $2600 a year means keeping up with inflation instead of falling further and further behind every year. I’m always one major expense away from having to borrow money from predatory lenders – this would give me breathing room.

March 18, 2024

Carolyn, a part-time worker from WA says:

I’m the breadwinner in my family and I care for my husband who has health issues. I work 10 hour shifts, 7 Night Shifts then 7 days off. This enables me to meet our financial commitments. I’m an Enrolled Nurse and without penalty rates we would not make ends meet. We don’t live in the metro area, it’s cheaper to purchase a property further out of the city. We moved to save money. When I need to buy prescription medications and fuel in the same week it hits me hard and I have to skimp on my groceries. Mortgage repayments have increased with rate increases, this also puts a strain on an already tight budget. I pay certain bills each week, by instalments. I haven’t paid my rates yet and am trying to find those funds. This causes anxiety and depression.

March 18, 2024

Ramandeep, a full-time worker from QLD says:

I’m not able to support my family with the basic needs and education. i have to stick with my budget.

March 18, 2024

Heather, a full-time worker from NSW says:

We go without heating and use blankets.  Only watch tv as entertainment. Only spend money if I really have too and I can …otherwise we go without I have two pairs of shoes both work boots feel very much like a slave keeping the big guys in comfort with our sweat and tears. How can they sleep at night?

March 18, 2024

Lucy, a full-time worker from SA says:

Low income earners work harder and longer hours..

March 18, 2024

Chimmi, a part-time worker from QLD says:

It’s not fair pay within same company. Some are paid 30 and as per me I am getting 28.9$/ hour

March 18, 2024

Govind, a part-time worker from VIC says:

My bank account goes minus every time , i am surviving on credit card and 45 days cycle

March 18, 2024

Wendy, a part-time worker from VIC says:

I’m single person paying a mortgage by myself and all the bills is very hard.

March 18, 2024

Peta, a full-time worker from WA says:

My body is in need of massages, deep heat, back brace, hydrotherapy, physio, chiro. Health insurance. To keep doing my job, which is a phsyical job, I think an $40- $60 per week would be a much better pay amount to maintain our bodies and ensure the school we clean is maintained to the best of our abilities.

March 18, 2024

Marjorie, a part-time worker from QLD says:

Make sure I pay my rent first eat mostly rice and eggs