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Dated: 10 June 2020

The Fair Work Commission is holding its final hearing today in this year’s minimum wage review.

The FWC’s decision on minimum wages is due by June 30, 2020.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is seeking a 4% increase in minimum wages, while The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) support a wage freeze.

Employers and unions are divided over whether the domestic economy has started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

The union says that “Anything less than an increase that accounts for rises in prices and living costs would result in a fall in real consumer income growth and purchasing power”.

While the employer groups say that the economy is operating with substantial artificial support which is scheduled to be wound back in coming months, with uncertainty over the economic recovery rate and any re-emergence of the virus.

ACCI says the March quarter data should be viewed as the calm before the storm, with the economy facing a “cliff” in the June quarter.

Ai Group says “A minimum wage increase at the current time would be harmful to the economy, to businesses, to employees (many of whom would experience less secure jobs) and to the unemployed.”