The Change the Rules rally is expected to shut down the Melbourne CBD. Picture: ABC News
The Change the Rules rally is expected to shut down the Melbourne CBD. Picture: ABC News

Outrageous CEO salaries spark rally

TENS of thousands of workers will march on Melbourne today, calling for fairer work conditions and better pay.

As many as 150,000 people are expected to pour on to city streets in the CBD - and in cities around the country - as part of an ACTU-led national push towards an increase in wages.

The Change the Rules campaign specifically fights for "a minimum wage you can live on", "the protection of penalty rates", "pay rises that keep up with the cost of living", "equal pay for equal work", "an end to big businesses and big banks rorting the system" and "better job security".

Another element to the protest is the rejection by the middle class of exorbitant CEO salaries.

As was reported earlier this week, Australia's highest paid chief executive earned almost 435 times the average full time worker's wage.

Among Australia's top earting CEOs are Domino's Pizza's Don Meij, who takes in $36.84m, Westfield's Peter and Steven Lowy, who make $25.9m and Macquarie Group's Nicholas Moore, who earns $25.19m a year.

 

The Melbourne rally is expected to dwarf a similar event staged in the city in May where 100,000 people attended. It will shut down major city streets including Lygon Street, Victoria Street, Swanston Street and La Trobe Street.

Trams will be stopped from entering the centre of the city from 9.30am until shortly after midday. Passengers are being urged to use trains instead of trams and additional Public Transport Victoria staff will be on hand to assist.

Victoria Police will also be out in force as protesters march along Russell and Latrobe streets en route to Federation Square via Swanston Street. It is expected that protesters will disperse shortly after gathering outside Flinders Street station.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said today's action was about helping people out of a rut.

"Our wages are going backwards, families are struggling, too many people are stuck in insecure work," she said.

"We need to bring back balance to the system so working people get fair pay rises." But the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have dismissed the union claims.

"Scratch the surface and the ACTU's campaign is really about putting power into the hands of big unions, disempowering employees, and removing their choices," CEO James Pearson said.

Thousands of protesters are also expected to gather in Sydney, Darwin, Wollongong, Cairns and Townsville.