WESTERN Australia’s lowest-paid workers are getting a modest pay rise, with the state’s Industrial Relations Commission noting improvements in the domestic economy have not yet flowed through to employees.
The commission announced a 2.75 per cent increase to the state minimum wage on Friday, taking it to $746.90 per week.
The increase, which also applies to award rates, will likely affect about 27,000 employers and more than 300,000 employees, mainly in small businesses.
The commission said the WA economy was recovering from the bust that followed the mining boom, but it was still softer than the rest of the nation.
“Sectors of the Western Australian economy where employees are reliant on award increases and the low paid generally are employed have not yet seen improvements in their profitability or employment growth,” it said.
WA’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry was disappointed, having called for an increase of no more than 1.4 per cent, noting inflation in Perth rose 1.1 per cent over the year to March.
The chamber said small businesses had little capacity to absorb higher operating costs or respond to weakening demand.
UnionsWA said the increase, amounting to an extra $20 per week, would not go far enough to relieve financial pressure on workers and their families.
“In real terms, many will go backwards,” it said.
“Essential living costs have increased rapidly in WA in recent years.”
UnionsWA had called for an increase of $43.61 per week or six per cent, whichever was greater.