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Low wage growth confirmed (again) – critics say plans are needed

By William Olson

While the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been calling out the various LNP governments since 2013 for stagnant wage growth, statistics reveal that wages have slowed to their lowest points since wage price index statistics started being tracked in 1997 – no matter how they’re to be measured.

Both the ACTU and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have interpreted Treasury figures that wage growth is down by 2.1 per cent in the quarter ending in June, 0.2 per cent lower than the previous quarter ending in March, and down 1.8 per cent over a 12-month span – numbers which justify that a once-in-a-generation recession is happening in Australia.

“Working people have been living through a wage growth crisis for more than seven years, but this crisis has driven wages to new lows,” said Sally McManus, the ACTU’s national secretary.

And while the ACTU has been making deafening calls for the Morrison government to institute programs promoting jobs creation, not to cut existing schemes of JobKeeper and JobSeeker, come up with a plan for national paid pandemic leave, as well as promoting their latest push to fully expand JobKeeper, they now have a range of like-minded allies to help advocate for those economic remedies.

The ACTU now has the backing of three key ALP members as well as Greens leader Adam Bandt’s passionate pleas to reinforce their calls.

“The biggest lesson we’re learning from COVID-19 is that you can’t leave anyone behind,” Bandt said last week.

“It’s important that we provide everyone with the support they need to be able to cope with this pandemic and ensure restrictions have the best chance of working,” he added.

In addition to Bandt’s emphasis of a fundamental socio-economic truth arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, MP’s within the ALP echo those concerns, along with pointing out the shortcomings of which ministers in the Morrison government have already done.

“On its latest attempt to fix the program, the government has still failed to support millions of workers that were originally excluded,” said Tony Burke, in his role as the shadow minister for industrial relations.

Burke specifically points out the potential impact of the government’s revision of JobKeeper last week, that far too few workers were standing to benefit from it.

“Labor is still concerned that other aspects of the wind down of JobKeeper will come at the worst time for workers and businesses in Victoria and in other parts of Australia and that the Government continues to exclude millions of workers from JobKeeper,” he added.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers, in concurring with Burke, has been critical that the Morrison government has little to show for its intermittent efforts – aside from the establishment of a few schemes and programs in the five months that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Australian society and culture, as well as the nation’s economy.

“We’ve been saying for some time that the deterioration in the economy should force the Government to reconsider its changes to JobKeeper,” said Chalmers.

“These changes are welcome but they are a tweak, not a plan, and don’t do enough to tackle the jobs crisis that continues to worsen,” added Chalmers.

McManus insists that a comprehensive jobs-creation plan – defined within her declaration of “working people have to lead this recovery” – exists as a key element of the government’s recovery blueprint.

In doing so, McManus has called for the government to make it public, in areas falling under that of jobs minister Michaelia Cash’s portfolio within the Morrison government.

“We are almost six months into this pandemic and we have no jobs plan. This data shows one is desperately needed,” said McManus.

“We need to put money in the hands of working people and give them the security they need to spend it. If we don’t support working people, they can’t support the economy,” McManus added.

And according to Brendan O’Connor, the ALP’s shadow minister for small and family business, a jobs plan leads a positive domino effect of getting people employed so that they can participate in a revitalised economy.

And with those intentions and goals in mind, it is something which Prime Minister Scott Morrison, his cabinet, and his ministers have to plan and think through as thoroughly as possible.

“We don’t want people left out and left behind in Australia’s first recession in 30 years, we want them to get ahead in the recovery, and that’s why Australians can’t afford for the Government to get this wrong,” said O’Connor.

With the power in numbers that the ACTU has behind them, even if Labor do not hold a Parliamentary majority, their collective efforts will do their best to keep the Morrison government honest.

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3 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    The Liarbral Nazional$ economic plan is very simple, so that Scummo does not get confused. It is to make Australia the worst thrird world export economy in the OECD so that the foreign based multinational corporations may exploit Australian mineral wealth without paying any taxation to Australia or creating any processing job opportunities for Australian workers in Australia. Perish the thought that an Australian manufacturing sector was revived to compete with the European or American exporters selling into AUstrali at enormous profits.

    Meanwhile, workers wages and conditions will be pushed down by a created job shortage described as ”re-structuring” but actually pushing corporate operating costs onto those persons desperate enough to seek employment without the benefit of union protection.

    But do not worry because Scummo Sacked from Marketing and other politicians are on a fully paid holiday from Parliament because the Parliamentarians refuse to use the benefits of the Internet in the same manner as they are requiring the business community to operate under.

  2. perthjohny

    This is nothing new.
    What about pensioners?
    I have read this morning that pensioners wil not a rise this September!!
    The basic is based on around 27% of the basic wage, or, inflation which is the hugest!!
    As the real wage hasn’t gone up since the Abbot government and now inflation has now gone into deflation what has pensioners have!!??
    Since the Abbot government pensioner risers have only been around $ 12:00 per year if we are lucky!!
    At present both the job keeper and the job seeker are getting more than the pensioner!!
    Therefore the pension is being eroded!!
    If the pension doesn’t rise this September then pensioners will be the bottom of the barrel!!!
    Where is the equality??
    Every day we see how the Morrison government hand out money to both business as well as job keeper and job keeper, but, when do’s Morrison say anything about ongoing support for pensioners!!??
    I have always said that Morrison is the wrong person for pensioners!!

  3. New England Cocky

    @perthjohny: Morriscum is”the wrong person” for all Australians ….. except foreign owned multinational corporations, Liarbral Nazional$ financial donors and members of the Hillsong Cult of COVID-19 spreaders.

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