Cost increase

By: Amie Hickland

Bus operators will feel the impact of a minimum wage increase to take effect in July

Workers in the Australian bus industry will see a 3 per cent increase of minimum wage but bus operators will be footing part of the bill.

The Fair Work Act 2009 requires the Expert Panel to conduct and complete a review of minimum wages in modern awards and the national minimum wage in each financial year.

The Fair Work Commission has given award-reliant workers a 3 per cent increase lifting the national minimum wage to $16.78 an hour.

This directly affects over 1.5 million employees in Australia who are award reliant.

Australian Public Transport Industrial Association National Industrial Relations Manager Ian Macdonald says it is interesting to note the Wage Price Index (WPI) only increased by 2.3 per cent in the year ending March 2014 for the transport sector.

"Given that the award is to increase by 3 per cent, there is a gap which obviously is to be met by operators," he says.

"The loss to the operators is the fact that within the funding model they’re not going to get reimbursed the full 3 per cent.

"Employees are probably happy as Larry but at the end of the day it’s just a cost exercise.

"It’s hard to see how the 3 per cent increase is going to benefit bus operators in the long run."

The changes to the Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award will take effect on July 1.

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