Inside ACTU's scathing report on Australian wages

Report suggests current government has cost every Australian $10,000

Inside ACTU's scathing report on Australian wages

Poor wage growth has been a trending topic under the Morrison government. The incumbent will be heading into the federal election facing the fact that workers’ real incomes are lower now than they were last time people voted after the Australian Council of Trade Unions released a scathing report entitled ‘Morrison Missing in Action on Wages’.

The report was part of a series the ACTU released on Morrison’s perceived failings, addressing topics such as working women, secure jobs and health and safety. The latest instalment claimed that the current government's policies have been deliberately favouring big business, pocketing the profits from increased productivity in the Australian workforce instead of passing them on to workers as salary increases.

Data collected reveals that since Morrison’s government came into power, productivity of Australian workers has increased by 10.3% but real wages have only risen by 1.6%, and workers have received the lowest share of national income while business has received the highest.

The report goes on to claim that Morrison’s government has purposely designed an economic system to keep wages down. “Instead of implementing policies to improve wage growth, the Morrison government has either pursued policies that have exacerbated the problem or done nothing,” said McManus.

Those included promoting insecure work, opposing wage rises, capping public sector pay rises and failing to plug the gender pay gap. “Every time workers have tried to get pay increases, whether it be the annual wage review, aged care workers or their own workers, this government has acted to keep wage growth down,” she said.

It calculates that a decade of the current coalition government has cost the Australian workforce an average of $10,000 each. ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, said in a press release, “On today’s wages, that would mean an extra $74 in workers' pockets each week. This money would’ve been critical for both our pandemic recovery and curbing the cost-of-living crisis.”

The conclusion was calculated by comparing current average earnings with what earnings from 2013, when Morrison came into government, would be if they grew by inflation and productivity over the same period.

The report goes on to suggest that the Morrison government is encouraging the decline of real wages just to enhance the power and short-term profits of its political allies in parts of the business community stating that since the pandemic hit, corporate profits have averaged over 28% of total GDP, the highest in Australia’s history.

ACTU Recommendations

  • Close the loopholes in the law that let employers turn permanent jobs into insecure ones.
  • Support at least a 5% increase in the minimum and award wages this year to make progress towards all workers earning a living wage.
  • Remove caps on APS wages and let commonwealth public sector workers effectively bargin for fair wages.
  • Scrap the Morrison government’s plan to let employers cut employee pay and conditions under enterprise agreements and close the legal loopholes that let employers tear them up.
  • Pass laws that remove the barriers that are preventing women from achieving equal pay.
  • Support aged care workers in their case for a $5 an hour work value pay rise.
  • Crack down on wage theft, by passing laws to let a worker quickly and easily chase up stolen wages and super.
  • Start publicly backing fair pay rises that all workers receive their fair share of labour productivity growth.

Recent articles & video

How to avoid getting trapped in payroll error

Atlassian asserts reproductive rights of US-staff after bombshell Roe v. Wade ruling

Australian HR Awards 2022: Excellence Awardees revealed

Queensland introduces 'nation-leading' reforms in new bill

Most Read Articles

Australian HR Awards 2022: Excellence Awardees revealed

Queensland officially bans 'claim farming'

Should HR dismiss an employee over 'inappropriate rants' sent via email?