27 June 2006

New South Wales increases minimum wage

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Dow Jones newswire is reporting that workers paid the minimum wage in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, are to receive a A$20 per week pay rise after a decision Monday by the local industrial relations tribunal.

The wage decision, which affects workers who aren't covered by federal and state enterprise bargaining agreements, was handed down by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, ABC Radio reported.

Minimum wages under Australia's new federal labor laws are to be set by the Fair Pay Commission which is yet to hand down its first ruling. But the NSW decision is the first by a state jurisdiction since the new laws came into force.

The power to set minium wages at the federal level was passed this year to the new fair pay agency from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission which previously decided so-called safety net pay increases for the country's most lowly paid workers.

Of the total 10.664 million people employed in Australia in May, New South Wales accounted for 3.294 million workers, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

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