29 May 2014
Labour Minister Ignores Call for Consultation on Minimum Wage
“The Minister of Labour has arrogantly ignored the concerns of unions and low-income workers in amending the Minimum Wage Order to allow ‘averaging’ of the minimum wage,” said the Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary, John Ryall, today.
The SFWU is the main union representing low-income workers in the service sector. SFWU members work in sectors such as cleaning, caregiving, security and food processing.
John Ryall said a SFWU request to be consulted on the proposed wording that the Minister was intending to change in the Minimum Wage Order had been ignored.
“The courts have rejected the concept of ‘averaging’ or allowing payments below the minimum wage in one period being offset against payments above the minimum wage in another period and our union supports this position,” he said.
John Ryall said that under the ‘averaging’ regime low-income workers would need to be issued with calculators every fortnight to work out whether they are being paid above the minimum wage or not.
“The truth is that the change to the Minimum Wage Order is being pushed through by the Minister to help his National Party dairy farmer mates who have been exploiting their farm labourers by regularly paying them below the minimum wage,” he said.