Australia's minimum wage lifted to 570 dollars a week

12:53, June 03, 2010      

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Australia's 1.4 million minimum wage earners on Thursday have been awarded a pay rise of 26 Australian dollars (22 U.S. dollars) a week, just 1 dollars (85 U. S. cents) less than that claimed by the unions.

Fair Work Australia announced the change to the 544 dollars ( 460 U.S. dollars) minimum wage in Melbourne, bringing it up to 570 dollars (481 U.S. dollars) a week.

The unions had been pushing for a 27 dollars (22.8 U.S. dollars) a week increase to make up for last year's pay freeze, but employer groups wanted any increase limited to 12.50 dollars (10.6 U.S. dollars).

Industrial Tribunal President Justice Geoffrey Giudice said the Australian economy had performed better than expected since March 2008.

"There is a strong case for a rise in minimum wages to provide a fair and relevant safety net, protect the relative living standards of award-reliant employees and assist the low paid to meet their needs," Giudice told Australian Associated Press.

"The forecasts for 2010-11 give strong grounds to conclude that such an increase could be awarded without threatening business viability, employment growth or adding to inflation.

"We have concluded that a significant increase in minimum wages is warranted."

The new minimum wage will come into effect from July 1.

The decision delivered on Thursday marked Fair Work Australia's first case since it replace the previous Howard government's Fair Pay Commission.



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