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ACTU to seek minimum wage of $660

THE ACTU will begin a push next week to increase the minimum wage by 12 per cent and secure better protection for those who become union delegates in their workplace.

It will also campaign to stop skilled migrants who come to Australia to work being hired so employers can avoid offering proper training.

Policy documents were released yesterday for the ACTU's triennial national congress, to be staged in Sydney next week. They show the union body will push for the national minimum wage to increase from its current $589.30 a week up to $660 by 2015.

The ACTU will push for the gap between average male and female earnings - which has widened in the last decade - to be closed, in part by requiring workplaces to report ''meaningful, quantitative equal remuneration and equality indicator data annually''.

The union movement will also lobby for existing workplace laws to be amended to establish a charter of rights for union delegates - a plan it is expected employers would bitterly oppose.

The president of the ACTU, Ged Kearney, said yesterday that there was an increasingly ''militant'' campaign by employers to destroy hard-fought employee rights.


She said Australians had unequivocally voted at the 2007 federal election to improve their rights at work. ''But we are seeing a growing wave of attacks on the wages, conditions and job security of workers,'' she said.

Former prime minister Paul Keating and former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty will speak at the conference at a sold-out dinner for almost 900 people.

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