Decade of Coalition Government costs workers $10,000

Decade of Coalition Government costs workers $10,000

With workers facing a cost-of-living crisis, the ACTU has revealed that the average Australian worker would have earned $10,000 more since the Coalition came to power in 2013 if wages had kept up with productivity gains. On today’s wages, that would be another $74 per week.

A new report released today; ‘Morrison Missing in Action on Wages’, details how real wages are now experiencing their largest decline this century as inflation hits 5.1% while wages are growing at just 2.3 per cent. As a result, the average Australian worker suffered an $800 real pay cut in 2021 and is set to lose almost another $2,000 in the first half of 2022.

However, since 2013, productivity has grown by 10.3 per cent - 6 times faster than real wages which only grew by 1.6 per cent over the whole period in the private sector. If real wages had kept pace with productivity since 2013, the average worker would be $10,000 better off.

As the report argues, low wages are a self-proclaimed “deliberate design feature” of the Coalition Government who have consistently entrenched low wage growth by:

• Promoting insecure work and the rise of underemployment.

• Refusing to support real wage rises for 1 in 4 workers in the Annual Wage Review

• Capping Commonwealth public sector pay rises

• Failing to act on the gender pay gap and refusing to help the underpaid and overworked predominately women workforces in aged care

• Trying to remove the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) in collective bargaining while allowing employers to tear up enterprise bargaining agreements by using loopholes in the law

• Failing to act on wage theft

• Creating the smallest share of national income going to workers on record

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Almost a decade of this Government has meant the average worker missing out on $10,000. This is the result of Coalition Government wage suppression policies.

“The cost of living crisis that workers are currently experiencing has been created by nearly a decade of record-low wage growth under this Government – this is a crisis that could have been avoided if Morrison had acted to support workers getting reasonable pay rises.

“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. Scott Morrison refuses to do the work to close the loopholes that have seen the continual growth of insecure work, this has had a huge impact on workers’ bargaining power.

“The average worker has lost $10,000 since this Government came to power because wages aren’t keeping up with productivity. On today’s wages, that would mean an extra $74 in workers' pockets each week. This money would have been critical for both our pandemic recovery and curbing the cost-of-living crisis facing working people.”