Nobel Prize-winning economist and former World Bank chief economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz has endorsed industry and sector bargaining as an answer to slow wages growth.

Speaking ahead of his National Press Club address in Canberra today, Professor Stiglitz told The Australian that allowing sector wide or nation-wide bargaining would boost pay packets.

“The countries that have been most successful in preventing this deterioration of wages have been the countries that have more sectoral and national bargaining,’’ he said.

He said the laws needed to be changed including laws which had undermined unionization so that the collective action of workers to defend themselves against employers has been weakened.

Professor Stiglitz said that business lobby opposition to such a proposal was evidence that it would be effective.

“The fact that it’s so controversial with employers coming down against it is, in a way, some evidence that it works because if it didn’t make any difference they wouldn’t be opposing it.”


Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“Australia was one of the first countries in the world to win the right to a living wage.

“The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government have relentlessly attacked that right, and attacked our ability join together in a union to protect it.

“They cling to their failed trickle-down economic experiment saying that by giving big business more money they will lift wages. That hasn’t happened and it won’t happen.

“The ‘enterprise only’ bargaining model is in crisis. There are 500,000 fewer workers covered by EBAs today than just three years ago.

“Working people need to be able to negotiate a fair deal with real decision-makers. This means being able to sit down and negotiate agreements across multiple employers, sectors or industries.

 “This idea is endorsed by the internationally renowned Nobel Prize-winner for economics Joseph Stiglitz as the solution to slow wage growth.

“It’s time to change the rules so working people can negotiate fair pay rises and more secure jobs by negotiating with more than one employer at a time.”