The lift in the minimum wage announced today is welcome news for award-wage apprentices who will see a 3.5% wage boost.
The extra wages, set to commence on 1st July, will provide some small relief for apprentices who have survived years of Liberal governments cutting their benefits.
Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks said the raise was another solid lift for award-apprentice wages coming off the back of the ETU’s successful claim to vary the Award in 2016.
“There are thousands of electrical apprentices working hard across Australia who will now enjoy a small, but welcome, boost to their pay packets each week,” Mr Hicks said.
“It’s not a lot or close to what we wanted, but with apprentice numbers down nearly 40 per cent since 2013 and TAFE students neglected and belittled by the Turnbull Government, it’s a small victory.”
In the five years of Abbott-Turnbull rule, apprentices have lost their Tools of the Trade allowances along with other benefits, so the rise of 3.5% in apprentice award wages was some good news for young workers.
“The Liberal Government keeps taking from apprentices and the ETU keeps putting money back and the more electrical apprentices who join the Union the more we will win.
“It was confirmed this week that ‘Minister for basket-weaving’ Simon Birmingham allowed the department to spend more than $24 million on an apprentice IT program, only to scrap it,” Mr Hicks said.
“That’s wasted taxpayer money that should have gone to helping young Australians learning skills.”
Unlike the Turnbull Government, Mr Hicks said the ETU will continue to deliver on improving the pay and conditions for apprentices, just as ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and her team have done for low-paid workers everywhere.
“The $24 weekly minimum raise in wages for our lowest paid workers announced today shows exactly why Australians need join their union,” Mr Hicks said.
“It’s half what we and Sally were fighting for, but it’s a bigger step forward than we’ve seen in years.
“It’s also nearly twice the paltry 1.8% increase the bosses’ lobby, the Australian Industry Group, was offering so that’s a victory in itself,” Mr Hicks said.
“For low-skilled and young workers, the minimum wage is barely enough to keep your head above water, but we’re not stopping after this small victory.
“The ETU, Sally McManus and unions everywhere are going to keep fighting to make sure we Change the Rules so that workers get better pay and conditions,” Mr Hicks said.
Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum
0419 499 886, firstname.lastname@example.org