Living standards at 30 year low
Australian living standards have declined to the lowest level since the 1991 recession despite strong corporate profits, according to an ACTU report that calls for a comprehensive package of wage reforms such as a "living wage" and pay adjustments that reflect CPI and productivity improvements.
Drawing on analysis from ANU associate professor Ben Phillips of ABS disposable household income data, CPI and population growth, the ACTU report says living costs "have outstripped household incomes over the past three years as weak wage growth delivered the biggest fall in living standards for more than 30 years".
The fall in living standards was also "greater than during the last recession in 1991-92", it says, claiming that Australia is facing an "income recession" while the rewards of increased productivity "have been monopolised by a small elite of wealthy and powerful people".
In order to "maintain robust economic growth and ensure that all Australians prosper from rising productivity", the report recommends policy reforms, including:
· tightening laws to reduce insecure jobs;
· restoring a living wage "so no full-time worker lives in poverty";
· repairing awards to "maintain their relevance, including restoring penalty rates";
· reforming the FWC into a strong, fair and independent industrial umpire that can stop wage theft and ensure gender equity;
· making the collective bargaining system "accessible to everyone", with "options for multi-employer agreements"; and
· repealing laws that "inhibit the rights of workers and their unions to act democratically and collectively".
Warning against adopting US President Donald Trump administration-style policies that "have exacerbated inequality, caused social deprivation and shaken democracy", the ACTU report says that, ahead of Australia's federal election, "politicians need to outline their vision to tackle rising inequality".
"It is not the 'politics of envy' to seek a fair distribution of the benefits derived from rising productivity," the report says.
via Workplace Express