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Wages are going backwards - rules at work are broken

17 August 2017 By ACTU

Australian workers’ wages are not keeping up with the cost of living and over a million working people are underemployed, figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal.

170817 change the rules family700pxwThe cost of living is growing 16 per cent faster than wages in the private sector. Workers are doing better in the public sector due to higher union density, but everyone is feeling the pinch.

Meanwhile, business is healthy, with the ABS data indicating that a third of all businesses’ income had increased in 2015-16.

The figures also show that the problems of insecure work and underemployment continue to grow, with more than 1.1 million people unable to find enough work, while nearly three quarters of a million Australians can’t find work at all.

The number of men in part-time work has increased dramatically, with an extra 52,000 more men in part-time work in July than in June.

A third of the manufacturing industry has indicated that there is a lack of skilled people in the industry, highlighting the issues of cutting and privatising TAFE funding.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Today’s figures reveal the growing inequality in Australia. Workers are unable to negotiate higher rates of pay because the rules are stacked in favour of big business and the very rich.”

“More than 1.1 million people are underemployed and can’t find enough work. People need second jobs to survive — this is, sadly, the face of inequality crisis in Australia.”

“Too many Australians, and in particular young people, cannot find work. If they can find work they can’t find enough.”

“Every one of these problems comes from corporations and the very rich having too much power, while the rules that are meant to balance this out are broken.”

“The Turnbull Government is fuelling inequality and denying it exists. “

“The Turnbull Government’s neoliberal agenda is hurting people and their families. Instead of helping people increase their wages and secure their work, they’re attacking unions, the very people who can lift wages by negotiating on behalf of workers.”

“It is refusing to crack down on corporate tax evasion and corruption, preferring to cut taxes for corporations while ignoring the need for a Royal Commission into the banking industry.”

“The rules at work are broken. If people want higher wages and more secure work, they need to join their union so we can change the rules.”


Media contact: Peter Green 0400 764 200 or ACTU Media 03 9664 7315


Contact Details
Name: David Smith, ASU National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400