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Slow, Low Wages Growth Damaging Australia’s Economy And Hurting Australian Families

Wage growth is the lowest it’s been since records have been kept. Even the Reserve Bank has showed concern wages are not increasing fast enough. This is having serious ramification on the economy and devastating Australian families.

Bills are becoming more and more difficult to pay as the cost of gas and electricity rises. More and more Australian families are turning to debt helplines for advice and relief. Australians are working even harder now for less money. Wages have not kept up with increased productivity. The real issue here is the distribution of profit. Workers are putting more in and getting less back. Another major factor is that the bulk of Australians are reliant on award wages/ the minimum wage.

There are 2.3 million Australians who earn the minimum wage – that’s nearly one in four workers. This is an increase of more than 400, 000 from two years ago.

The profile of a minimum wage worker is they are more likely to work part-time (who is under-employed) or be casual and work in community/personal service, sales or as a labourer. More than 1.2 minimum wage and award-reliant workers come from just these three occupations.

More than half of all hospitality workers, cleaners, and laundry workers are reliant on the minimum wage. A large and rapidly increasing number of professionals are now becoming reliant on awards, (325,000).

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said “… Australians are less secure in their work, living costs are rising, and wages have not kept up. At 1.9% wage growth is pathetic and barely keeping up with inflation.  There are 2.3 million Australians who earn the minimum wage – that’s nearly one in five workers.  When wages stagnate, people do not have enough money to put back into the economy.”

Slow wages growth is also damaging Australian business and the economy affecting their ability to employ people. The record high household debt and record low wage rises continue to constrain consumer spending and thus hurt the economy. This has caused some business to downsize and or increase the cost of products and services.

While profit margins get smaller and overheads get bigger, workers are made to feel the brunt of it in decrease wages or job loses.

With record low wage growth and consumer spending being reduced, inequality in Australian society is getting worse. Inequality in our country is the worst it has been for 70 years and 679 of our biggest corporations pay not one cent of tax.

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