Sector bargaining improves employment, economic performance, equality: OECD report

Sector bargaining improves employment, economic performance, equality: OECD report

Lifting restrictions that prevent working people negotiating their pay across sectors would lead to fairer pay rises, reduce inequality and improves overall economic performance, according to the OECD’s flagship ‘Employment Outlook’ report, released yesterday.

Sector bargaining allows workers who are not employed by the same business to negotiate together if they do the same kind of work. This means working people have more power in the negotiations, and is a core part of the ACTU’s Change the Rules campaign.

The OECD found that in countries where working people are able to bargain together across industries or sectors, wages, overall employment, economic equality, productivity and even the quality of working environments are better than in countries like Australia where bargaining is limited to a single business.

The same report found that Australia has one of the highest rates of underemployment in the OECD.

The report shows that enabling working people to more effectively fight for better pay and conditions has benefits not only for those workers but makes the entire economy more resilient to economic down-turns.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Most people would agree that if you’re doing the same work, you should get the same pay. That’s just fairness.

“This report shows that lifting restrictions that stop people negotiating across their sector would bring fairer pay rises, create jobs, reduce inequality and move the economy forward.

“We are going to change the rules so that working people can win fair pay and more secure jobs. That means being able to negotiate across a sector. We know that when working people win, the economy runs better.

“This report shows that there are solutions that can win fair pay rises and a fairer society. We need to change the rules to embrace those solutions.”