Australia lifts minimum wage 2.4 per cent; unions say not enough

Office employees reflect on the wall of the Reserves Bank of Australia in the central business district of Sydney.
Office employees reflect on the wall of the Reserves Bank of Australia in the central business district of Sydney.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia's lowest paid workers will receive a 2.4 per cent pay rise following an increase in the minimum wage by the country's Fair Work Commission.

The commission said the minimum wage would rise to A$17.70 (S$17.70) an hour from A$17.29 previously, effective July 1.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions, representing 46 different unions, had pushed for an increase to US$18.07 an hour for the more than 1.8 million people paid the minimum wage.

It criticised the increase as insufficient to close the gap between average and minimum wages, which it said was "putting enormous pressure on our lowest paid."