Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed increasing the minimum wage will lead to job losses, as Labor considers ways to give low paid workers a wage bump.
Mr Morrison said he did not support the opposition suggestions of making changes to industrial laws to boost wages for low paid workers, concerned about the cost to businesses.
The PM said he was not certain jobs would remain if Labor’s plan went ahead and opposition leader Bill Shorten needed to come clean about how effect to jobs.
“He’s saying to coffee shop owners and small businesses around the country:’ sack someone’,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Melbourne.
“That’s his policy – that people should be sacked.”
He said wages would rise with a strengthening economy, which allowed businesses to grow and introduce pay rises.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Mr Morrison’s remarks were typically negative.
“His economic credibility hovers around zero,” Mr Bowan said.
“Some people hate all wage increases and the Liberal party hates all wage increases.”
“That’s why we’ve seen wages growth at record lows.”
Labor has flagged legislative changes to increase pay for low-income workers, indicating the upcoming election as a “referendum on wages.”
They are weighing up ways to encourage the Fair Work Commission to take more factors into account to ensure low paid workers get a living wage at 60 per cent of the national median wage.
In its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual review of the minimum wage, the Australian Council of Trade Unions want six per cent rise, a $43 increase to the minimum wage from $719.20 a week to $762.20.
It would rise to a 10.7 per cent increase over two years.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus said a 10.7 per cent increase in wages would help workers on borderline poverty.
“No full-time worker should live in poverty,” she told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.
“If you work 38 hours a week you should earn a living wage, one you can survive on not one that pushes you into poverty.”