The Australian Council of Trade Unions is today calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to sit down with unions and business and address stagnating wages.

The wage price index result today continues to be the lowest since records began 19 years ago and confirms the economy has stagnated.

The stagnation is largely being driven by low private sector wages, especially in fast growing low wage penalty rate – reliant industries, including retail trade, hospitality and health care.

Australian Unions, the Reserve Bank of Australia and business have identified that providing additional support for growth, through long-term investment in public infrastructure, will lead to an increase in growth and wages — it’s time for the Federal Government to start consulting with unions and business.

Quotes Attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

“The economy has stagnated and working people are paying the highest price.

“The Federal Liberal Government’s 20-year history of attacking unions is pushing down wages and breeding excessive and socially and economically damaging inequality.

“Wage stagnation is a reminder that pressure on business isn’t coming from wages, it’s coming from a lack of confidence and not enough demand in the economy.

“Workers’ share of the pie is getting smaller, productivity is up, executive salaries are up, profits are up, but workers are going backwards.
“At a time when the Government should be creating an environment where workers get more of the rewards of their labour, the government is moving in the opposite direction, attacking penalty rates, wages and conditions.

“The attack on penalty rates is a red herring that won’t help businesses and will only hurt workers. Lowering wages generally, and penalty rates in particular, will only make our economic problems worse.

“It’s time the Government faced up to the reality of our economic challenges and sat down with unions and business to work on a sensible way forward. That’s what a grown up government would do.”