ACTU wrong on wages

25 Jul 2018 |

“It’s wrong for the ACTU to claim the wage setting system is failing working people,” Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, James Pearson, said today.

“Wages set by the Fair Work Commission have risen by or above inflation during its 9 years of operation.

“These increases have seen Australia deliver one of the highest minimum wages in the world.

“The ACTU is cherry picking the inflation and wages data by comparing June inflation to March wages growth.

“The reality is that at the beginning of July this year almost a quarter of the workforce saw their wages go up by 3.5% as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s most recent wages decision.

“This is significantly higher than the increase in inflation.

“This means the current system is delivering sustained real wage increases.

“This puts real pressure on small businesses and job,” Mr Pearson said.

“Small businesses account for a large share of award wage employment in Australia.

“Some of the least resourced and most at risk businesses are asked to pay out more than they can charge their customers, year in and year out.

“Low inflation means that increases in minimum wages are real increases, but employers can’t pass on increases in a highly competitive market.

“Whilst inflation remains low, spikes in the cost of fuel and electricity hit businesses and households hard.

“Rather than passing these costs on, business are absorbing them,” Mr Pearson said.

“Over 60 percent of small business operators are finding it particularly tough, taking home less than $50,000 each year.

“The latest data also shows bargained wages in the private sector going up 2.8% – well above inflation. Annual wage growth (measured by the ABS Wage Price Index) across all forms of wage setting has exceeded prices growth 6 times in the past 8 quarters.

“If the ACTU wants to see even higher wage rises, they need to work with business to find ways to grow the economy, to help attract investment and sustainably deliver more well-paying jobs.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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