|Issue No 79||24 November 2000|
Wage Stats Back ACTU Living Wage Claim
This week's release of Wage Cost Index data confirms wages growth remains moderate and well below the Reserve Bank's comfort zone - adding fuel to the ACTU's Living Wage claim.
ACTU secretary Greg Combet says the lower than expected 3.1% annual Wage Cost Index result confirms the economy could sustain a decent pay rise for the low-paid.
"The economy may be doing well but many low-paid workers are being left behind. They missed out under the Government's tax cuts and now face $1 petrol, GST price hikes and climbing interest rates. They need a decent pay rise just to make ends meet," Combet says.
He says the low Wage Cost Index outcome result underlines the fact that last months 6.1% change in Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) figure did not reflect what was really happening to the wages and salaries of ordinary Australians.
AWOTE is widely recognised as a volatile and inaccurate measure of wage growth as it is subject to composition changes in the workforce and is artificially inflated by big pay rises for high income earners. The Federal Government in its submissions to last year's Living Wage case described the Wage Cost Index as 'a better measure of the underlying trend in wage costs than current measures such as AWOTE.'
"The only real winners from a high AWOTE are the politicians who have linked their pay to increases in AWOTE. Instead of lecturing the low-paid on wage restraint, Peter Costello should offer to give back the automatic $205 a week pay rise he will get if AWOTE remains at its current level," Combet says.
The ACTU launched its Living Wage Claim 2001 earlier this month. The $28 a week claim would increase the Federal minimum wage from $400 a week to $428 and would benefit between 1.5 and 2 million low-paid workers who rely on increases in minimum award rates to maintain their living standards.
"If this Government is serious about sharing the benefits of economic growth then they should now support the ACTU's claim for a fair pay increase for low-paid workers," Combet says.
Interview: Back on Track
After blowing the whistle on rail privatization, NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully is rebuilding bridges with the trade union movement.
Unions: The Problem with Organising
It may be the new mantra, but Brisbane Institute director Peter Botsman argues that organising may be the wrong to go for a movement attempting to attract a new breed of workers.
International: Burma: Workers Act on ILO Ruling
Energy workers' trade unions across the Asia-Pacific have urged Western oil and gas companies to "cease investment in Burma while the use of forced labour continues".
Economics: Rethinking Incomes Policy
While many have thrown incomes policy out with the Acoord bathwater, Graham White argues it still has a role to play.
History: What Goes Around Comes Around
Labor Council's Mark Lennon argues that while trade unions - and labour history - might be unfashionable, there's life left in both of them.
Education: Peas in a Pod
Both sides of politics must take blame for funding levels in our public schools, argues NSW Teachers Federation president Sue Simpson.
Satire: Hurley Rebukes Actors' Guild: I'm No Actor!
Liz Hurley has responded angrily to claims by actors that she crossed a picket line by filming an Estee Lauder ad.
Review: It's Only a Job
In a stunning new book, author Phil Thornton and photographer Paul Jones have combined to portray working life in all its diversity through the eyes of ordinary people like process worker Sharonak Shannon
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005