Parts of Melbourne’s CBD have been brought to a standstill as tens ofthousands of people rally for an increase to Australia’s minimum wage.
The huge crowd marched from Trades Hall on Victoria St to Federation Square, moving down Latrobe Street, Lonsdale Street and Swanston Street.
Trams were delayed and traffic disrupted as protesters made their way through the CBD. Police also closed roads in some sections of the city.
The march was part of the Australian Council of Trades Union’s Change the Rules campaign, which is calling for a $50 per week increase to the minimum wage.
— Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) May 9, 2018
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said the campaign was also fighting to reverse cuts to penalty rates and improved working conditions.
She said the sweeping tax cuts announced in Tuesday’s budget would not improve the lives of workers on low wages.
“It means the people on the minimum wage will pay the same tax as people earning $200,000 a year,” she said.
“That’s not a fair tax system, it’s also not fair that there’s the $80 billion corporate tax cuts in there.
In the end when there’s less revenue it’s working people who end up paying anyway.”
Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari said the campaign was the union movement’s biggest in a decade.
“Last night’s budget did nothing for working people. It was like Malcolm Turnbull threw crumbs to Australian workers,” Mr Hilakari said.
“Well, crumbs are no longer good enough for us, we want the whole cake.
“We want our penalty rates back, we want equal pay for women, we want to make sure that all Australians get a decent pay rise.”