A LIMESTONE Coast union representative has praised the Fair Work Commission following its decision to raise the national minimum wage by 5.2% last week.
The salary is now slightly above the consumer price index (CPI), which is currently at 5.1%.
The minimum wage has now gone from $20.33 per hour to a new hourly rate of $21.38.
Construction, Forestry, Shipping, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) secretary Brad Coates said that with the current high cost of living it was a change very positive.
“People are struggling with their weekly commitments and especially people on minimum wage,” Coates said.
“That will certainly help, with the CPI currently at 5.1%, that means people’s wages are not falling.”
Along with the increase in the minimum wage, Mr Coates said awarded wages had also received a slightly lower increase of 4.6%.
Mr Coates claimed that some union members with higher wages than granted have been able to secure these higher rates due to a long history of bargaining, but unfortunately this has slowly declined over the past 10 to 15 years. due to inflation.
“We currently have a number of workplaces that we are in negotiations with for corporate bargaining, which can range from a one, two or three year agreement,” he said.
“A lot of the demands on the table are for a 5% increase to take into account the cost of living as well.”
Mr Coates said raising the minimum wage would encourage workers to spend more, which would help support the economy.
“What happens when people get that raise is they spend it in the community paying bills, buying a few extra groceries and being able to put gas in their car” , did he declare.
“You’ll find that most workers live week to week and really struggle with higher living costs, so that’s just going to take some of the pressure off.”