QUEENSLAND apprentices will receive a substantial wage increase after the Federal Court made a landmark ruling they should be paid as much as those in other parts of the country.
The Federal Court today dismissed an application by Australia's biggest employer of apprentices that workers in the Sunshine State should continue to be the lowest paid in the country.
All Trades Queensland and other employer groups lodged an appeal earlier this year after the Fair Work Commission twice ruled trainees should be covered by a modern federal award rather than an old state award.
The companies argued they should be able to keep paying first-year apprentices just $8.75 an hour, more than $4 less than workers in other states.
Electrical Trades Union apprentice co-ordinator Scott Reichman said the landmark decision meant all trainees, not just those working for the businesses that lodged the appeal, should receive an immediate pay rise.
"This ruling means that those apprentices not only get paid the right pay from here on in but are entitled to substantial back pay that should've been in place since the 1st of January 2014," he said outside court.
Mr Reichman said it was estimated Queensland's "tens of thousands" of apprentices were owed more than $100 million.
"It will mean substantial wage cases for a lot of companies," he said, saying the ETU had several ready to go.
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