Last week’s McDonald’s expose in The Age neatly demonstrates the extent to which Australia’s workplace relations system has been compromised by vested interests
But the problems at the heart of the system may not be the ones that first occur to many readers.
Firstly, it is not actually clear that McDonald’s has done anything wrong. According to the Fair Work Commission website, the minimum wage for 16 year olds in Australia is $8.17 per hour, cascading upwards each year with age until a worker turns 21, when the adult minimum wage of $17.29 per hour applies.
According to the articles, most employees had a base rate of pay of $20 per hour. In America, where the adult minimum wage is US$7.25 per hour, or Germany where the minimum wage is 8.5 Euros per hour, this would not be considered a bad deal.
It is also almost triple the hourly rate of $6.94 that unemployed Australians have to live on when receiving the Newstart Allowance.
Given that the employer is happy, the union is happy, the Fair Work Commission is happy and over 95 per cent of employees are reportedly happy, a legitimate question should be asked as to whose business it is to intervene?