Concern over wages decision

COMMERCE Queensland has expressed concern at the Australian Fair Pay Commission's decision to raise the minimum wage for low-paid workers by $27.36 a week.

Under the decision, more than 1.5 million workers nationally, who are covered by the WorkChoices legislation, will receive an increase from December 1 this year.

The decision is not limited to those on lower wages, increasing wages above $700 per week by an additional $22 per week.

Commerce Queensland Gold Coast and Hinterland regional manager Noel Millers says he is concerned such a large increase could hinder employment growth.

"The commission clearly has the view that this level of increase won't impact on the capacity for the unemployed and low paid to obtain and remain in employment."

"However, the interest of those unemployed would be better served by a more moderate increase to the minimum wage," he says.

Mr Millers says the decision comes on the back of a likely increase in interest rates, the combined effect of which will be a major blow for businesses.

"The 5.64 per cent increase is excessive compared to the current rate of inflation and increase in average earnings. However we recognise the increase is over at least a 15-month period," he says.

"We believe that, on balance, the commission has been more than generous. However, time will tell."

The important issues relating to casual rates, apprentice and trainee wages, junior wages and piece rates have been left to be considered during 2007.

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