3 Nov 2013

Treasury report no deterrent for living wage campaigners

6:00 am on 3 November 2013

The movement pushing for a 'living wage' says the Government should contribute constructive solutions to address low wages, in light of a Treasury report on the living wage campaign.

The Living Wage Movement wants all employers to pay workers a minimum of $18.40 an hour.

The Government has released advice from Treasury which says the campaign is poorly targeted and would likely cost jobs.

Treasury officials say teenagers and young adults in particular would find it harder to find jobs and the retail and food service industries would be hit hard.

Movement convenor Annie Newman says the criticism was accompanied with very little comment on what the Government would do to deal with low wages and manage a situation in which many workers can not earn enough money to survive and participate in society.

She says the Government needs to look at how it can supplement wages properly or support employers to pay workers a living wage.

The Public Service Association believes a the Treasury report has ignored significant evidence from countries which have implemented the policy.

However, PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says that has not been the case in a number of countries and overseas cities, which have adopted a living wage.

Ms Pilott says generally speaking, increasing the level of wages has a stimulating effect on economies as when more money is spent, more jobs are created.

She says the PSA does not think Treasury has put sufficient weight on that evidence.