Profits are up, CEO pay is up and inflation is rocketing, but real wages are heading south.
Wage growth has risen by only 0.7 per cent to 2.6 per cent, less than half the rate of inflation at 6.1 per cent, according to data released by the ABS last month.
Real wages have now effectively fallen back to 2011 levels, says the ACTU, after years of stagnant wage growth followed by deep, ongoing real pay cuts. These cuts are projected to deepen by the end of the year, with inflation expected to reach 7.75 per cent.
“It is clear that we have a serious systemic problem. We have been promised wages would go up when productivity goes up – they have not. We were promised that when business does well, pay rises will come – they have not. For six months unemployment has been low, yet wages are continuing to flatline,” says ACTU Secretary Sally McManus.
“Living standards are going backwards and workers now have the lowest share of GDP in recorded history.
“Our bargaining system is the engine of wage growth but the engine has conked out. Our country needs urgent reform to our wages system to get wage growth back on track.”
Meanwhile in the bank sector, profits are up 28 per cent, CEO pay is up 36 per cent and shareholder returns in the form of dividends and buybacks are up 57 per cent.