The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council’s (ACSJC) Briefing for May is now up on the website. The Briefing covers issues of Catholic social teaching in May 2018, highlighting resources, media items and diary events. It can be read here.
From the Chairman Most Rev. Vincent Long Van Nguyen:
A Fair Day’s Pay – for the dignity of workers and the good of all
On this Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, let us consider the importance of the just wage. This is particularly important in today’s Australia, where wage growth has been very slow and low-paid workers often experience real hardship.
The Church has stressed the fundamental importance of fair remuneration for work. A just wage will meet the immediate needs of workers and their families and also allow them to save for the future. It ensures the prosperity of a society is shared adequately and that the social, economic and cultural life of the community is allowed to flourish. Workers cannot be valued only by their cost or treated simply as a factor of production.
This call for a just wage has been consistent. In the face of the 1890s recession, Pope Leo XIII defended the right of industrially weak workers to wages that would meet family needs and condemned any bargain that undermined this entitlement.1As the world fell into the Great Depression, Pope Pius XI urged greater collaboration between employers and employees to prevent dramatic reductions or increases in wages in order to maximise the number of jobs providing a suitable means of livelihood.2 In the 1980s, when developed nations were opening their economies to global competition and restructuring industries and jobs, Pope John Paul II held up the just wage as a fundamental benchmark of fairness.