Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - With a request sent to the Fair Work Commission, the Australian governmental institution that regulates labor relations, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) expressed the need to increase the minimum wage from $719.20 to $760 a week or $20 an hour. The need expressed by the Bishops' Conference, says a note sent to Agenzia Fides, "is motivated by the desire to guarantee a decent standard of living through the establishment of a fair minimum wage", explains Megan Kavanagh, a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Employment Relations Reference Group.
The Fair Work Commission, "has failed to provide reasonable support for the hundreds of thousands of wage-dependent families who do not have a decent standard of living by contemporary standards and, in particular, has failed to alleviate the suffering and disadvantage of hundreds of thousands of children who are living in poverty in working families. what was an inadequate wage for a family two decades ago has become a reasonable wage for a single adult without family responsibilities. That is simply unacceptable".
Megan Kavanagh said there has been a tradition in Australia – dating back to the Harvester decision in 1907 – that people in full-time work with dependants should not live in poverty. And then reference is made to the message contained in Rerum Novarum, the encyclical promulgated on 15 May 1891 by Pope Leo XIII, with which for the first time the Church took a position on labor exploitation.
Currently in Australia, Catholic organizations employ around 220,000 employees, employed in the health, elderly care, education and administration sectors. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 29/3/2019)