Big Unions Misinform Their Members and The Australian Community

22 Oct 2018 |

Big Unions are telling unionists to leave their jobs to attend rallies this week based on deliberate misinformation about how Australians work and the way the Australian industrial relations system operates, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

“It is time for the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to come clean – their ‘Change the Rules’ campaign is based on a series of claims that simply do not stand up to scrutiny,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said.

“Scratch the surface and the ACTU’s campaign is really about putting power into the hands of Big Unions, disempowering employees, and removing their choices.”

The Facts


ACTU Claim:    

  • “Thousands of workers will fill the streets…calling on the Federal Government to change the rules so working people have pay rises that keep up with the cost of living.” Source
  • “The figures from the ABS show that… everything is getting more expensive and wages aren’t keeping up.” Source


  • Average weekly earnings rose by 2.6% in the year to May 2018 Source
  • Average weekly earnings exceeded the growth in prices (inflation of 2.1%) Source
  • The Wage Price Index rose by 2.1% Source
  • Wage rates under enterprise agreements are rising by 2.7%, again exceeding inflation Source


 ACTU Claim:    

  • “The decline of our minimum wage is clear proof that the rules that once made Australian workplaces fair are broken.” Source
  • “We need to change the rules, because Australia needs a pay rise.” Source

THE FACTS:         


ACTU Claim: 

  • “Inequality is at a 70 year high” Source
  • “Australia is at risk of becoming an Americanised society of working poor if people are not given a pay rise.” Source


  • “Sustained growth has delivered significantly improved living standards for average Australians in every income decile.” Source


ACTU Claim:    

  • “Fourty percent of working people are in insecure work – either in casual work, dependent on contracting, in labour hire, getting too few hours, or in the gig economy.” Source
  •  “One of the key things we want to change for working people is turning around or reversing the casualisation of jobs.” Source


  • “Australian jobs aren’t becoming less secure.” Source
  • “We have had… strong growth in casual employment during the past two decades of the 20th century and then nothing.” Source
  • “There has not been a huge spike in workers forced out of their jobs involuntarily” and “the proportion that have been in their jobs for 12 months is … staying on trend.” Source
  • “For all their visibility and controversy, gig economy platforms are not yet commanding a significant share of the labour market.” Source

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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