The ACTU’s ‘living wage’ would breach international law

14 Mar 2019 |

Calls for Parliament to set minimum wages based on 60% of median wages would breach Australia’s international treaty obligations, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s official employer representative to the United Nations International Labour Organisation, said today.

“Australia has signed up to international obligations on how we set minimum wages. Those obligations must be respected”, Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson said.

“The Minimum Wage Fixing Convention 1970, ratified by Australia in 1973 under a Labor government, requires that countries have a system of setting minimum wages which considers and balances a range of social and economic factors like living standards, productivity, and employment as well as the needs of the low paid when determining minimum wages.

“This would not be the case if our minimum wage was determined by a formula linking it to the median wage as called for by the ACTU and supported by the Greens. The Australian government would breach Australia’s international treaty obligations.

“Under the treaty, the Australian government also has to engage directly with employee and employer representatives on an equal basis.

“Australia has a long history of independent and apolitical minimum wage setting. This is something all Australians should be proud of, and something our Government – no matter who is in power – should continue to respect.”

Emily Kennelly

Adviser - Public Affairs & Advocacy

P  |  0438 730 772

E  |  [email protected]

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