Today’s wage figures show that Governments can and do make a real difference to the wages of working people, and that the effort needs to continue, the CTU said today.
The CTU also welcomed the strong employment figures.
"All the parties in the Coalition Government have excellent policy commitments to improve the wages of people on lower incomes. The impact of the care and support equal pay settlement shows the real dollars and cents difference they make," says CTU Secretary Sam Huggard.
"Some stronger increases are starting to come through now, with a 2.9 percent increase in the average wage over the last year, but many people are still missing out with almost half (47 percent ) of jobs not seeing a pay rise in the last year.
"That today’s figure no longer incudes wage data boosted by the care and support settlement, only underlines the need for Government to keep the energy up and continue to be a real driver of wage growth. Ongoing equal pay settlements, the strong minimum wage commitments, adopting the Living Wage in the public sector including for contracted workers and potential Fair Pay Agreements are all initiatives that will continue deliver for working people."
"The sharp fall in unemployment to 3.9 percent, driven by falls in youth unemployment, and falling numbers of young people who are not in employment, education or training, are long overdue and welcome.
"It is the first time the unemployment rate has been under 4 percent since June 2008. It shows that we can have strong rises in wages, such as the minimum wage, without hurting employment, especially when the Government is active in employment and regional development.
"The strong rise in employment, by 29,000 people, should also put an end to the debate as to whether recent business confidence surveys have been anything more than a political poll of business executives."