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Get the pay you deserve is a campaign run by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) to raise the wages of those aged 18-21 to the 100% adult wage rate. With over 200,000 members across the country, the SDA claims to be Australia’s largest trade union
We’ve included an excerpt from the SDA website:
Junior rates are part of many Australian industrial awards. They mean that workers aged under 21 are paid less for doing the same job as someone slightly older.
Junior rates are set in line with age. Typically, 18 year olds are paid 70% of the adult rate, at 19 they get 80% and at 20 the rate payable is 90% of the adult rate.
The pay rates don’t take into account experience or contribution, meaning that an 18 year old with two years experience earns less than a 21 year old with no experience at all.
Once you hit 18 you’re seen as a responsible adult in the eyes of the law – you can vote, legally drink, drive a car and get married. But you can’t get paid a full adult wage until you hit 21. It just doesn’t make sense.
No doubt, that this campaign will prove popular for many young people who work hard and don’t receive the same rate of pay as someone only a year older.
In fact, it’s likely to drive the membership of the union up considerably (with 27,772 supporters and counting). But it seems unlikely in this economic climate, that this campaign will make substantial change.
Business has been arguing strongly for some time to reduce the benefits for retail and hospitality workers – particularly over the weekends – and these issues haven’t progressed further. It would beggar belief if they rolled over on this one. Wages growth is already slowing due to the poorer economic conditions.
And with politicians particularly reluctant to make hard decisions in the face of a lobby group, one could safely conclude that the 100 per cent pay efforts will prove popular and boost membership with the union, but ultimately won’t make inroads into the core issue.