Figures quietly released by the Federal Government late Friday afternoon show that 45,000 working people have been pushed off above-award agreements in three months.

The latest trend report on agreement coverage from the Department of Jobs shows 45,000 fewer people covered by agreements, taking the total number of people covered to 1.15 million – the lowest since 2006.

Average pay rises in new agreements fell from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent per year between September 2018 and December 2018.

The slump was driven by lower pay rises in public sector agreements, where the Morrison Government is attempting to cut wages by capping pay rises at a lower level than inflation.

The latest data confirms that the apparent recovery in agreement coverage in the September quarter was an outlier driven by a few large deals.

A report from the Centre for Future Work released in December last year showed that the number of people in the private sector covered by agreements at work had fallen by a third since the Liberals formed government in 2013.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“The Morrison Government has to take responsibility for what’s happened to working people on their watch. Pay is down, agreement coverage is down, living standards are going backwards, but profits and CEO bonuses are way up.

“They’ve given big business too much power and the result is that it’s too hard for working people to get a fair deal. They’ve let multi-nationals and the very wealthy take far more than their fair share and there’s not enough left for the rest of us.

“This means fewer people under agreements, lower pay rises for working people – if they get any at all – and huge salaries, profits and bonuses for an elite few big business mates.

“It’s time to change the rules so working people have the rights they need to negotiate fair pay rises that keep them ahead of living costs.”