56 per cent of Australians have cut back on essential items and 24 per cent have skipped meals due to the current cost of living crisis, according to a poll conducted by the ACTU. 

The poll of 3000 people found that 21 per cent had sold assets to keep up with rising costs and 14 per cent had been forced to move to or look for more affordable housing. 

The data shows how vulnerable ten years of record low wage growth and 18 months of deep real wage cuts have made the Australian workforce and economy. Recent ABS data also shows that retail sales is beginning to decline and consumer confidence has failed 25 points over the last 12 months. 

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill, expected to pass parliament this week, is a great step towards getting wages moving and giving working people the tools they need to bargain for wage growth which keeps up with the cost of living, but more needs to be done to end rorts in labour hire and casual employment, regulate the gig economy and end systemic wage theft. 

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“A decade without wage growth followed by deep real wage cuts means millions of Australians are cutting back, skipping meals and being forced out of their homes. 

“Employers publicly arguing against wage growth are directly undermining the Australian economy. 

“The Bill before the parliament this week is a great step forward which will give working people better access to bargaining, but huge loopholes in our workplace laws remain which allow employers to slash wages and conditions. These have to end.

“A quarter of Australians cannot afford enough food for three meals a day. This is a crisis which requires a systemic response. We need to fix our broken workplace laws and rethink how our financial institutions, like the RBA, combat inflation and protect the interests of working people.”