FWC ruling not enough to close wages gap

Today’s Fair Work Commission ruling to grant a 3.3 per cent increase in the minimum wage for Australia’s low-paid workers will do “precious little” to help nursing, midwifery and care staff on the national Nurses Award 2010 keep up with the rising cost of living, according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

The increase of $22.20 a week was well below the $45 increase that unions had sought on behalf of 2.3 million workers.

The ANMF’s Acting Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, says nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing (AINs) working in GP clinics, medical centres and aged care facilities, are already struggling to make ends meet, receiving up to 20 per cent less wages than their public sector colleagues and those covered by Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA).

“As the country’s largest union, the ANMF is extremely disappointed by the Commission’s decision to lift the minimum wage by just 3.3 per cent,” Ms Butler said

“At a time of flat wage growth, booming company profits and generous corporate tax cuts, it’s terribly unfair that our members working under the national Nurses Award 2010 will be among the 2.3 million Australian workers affected by this decision.

“This minimal increase in the weekly minimum wage will do precious little in addressing the wage disparity between award-dependent nurses, midwives and care staff and the rest of the nursing and midwifery workforce on EBAs earning much more.

“How can such a measly increase possibly help working families keep pace with rising utility costs, grocery bills, rents and mortgages?

“Our members’ working conditions continue to be under threat of cuts to their penalty rates and today’s decision again fails to acknowledge the crucial work they provide in health and aged care.”

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