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Yet another "I told you so" - In the Shadow of Leaves
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Yet another "I told you so"

Average workers miss out on PM's wages bonanza

www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/08/28/1125167552299.html (text version)
Date: August 29 2005
By Nick O'Malley Workplace Reporter

The massive wage increases generated by Australia's prolonged growth spell have gone largely into the pockets of the rich, challenging the Prime Minister's claim that average workers have enjoyed a real 14 per cent pay rise since 1998, research shows.

Mr Howard made the figure a central point of the last election campaign and has used it to justify his planned industrial relations reforms.

But research by the University of Sydney's centre for industrial relations research, acirrt, has found that only the top 10 per cent of wage earners saw a rise of anything like that, enjoying an increase of 13.8 per cent between 1998 and 2004.

According to acirrt's research, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures and commissioned by Unions NSW, the average wage rise has been 3.6 per cent, while the median is 2.6 per cent.

The bottom 20 per cent of income earners had an increase of just 1.2 per cent.

Some workers in highly-skilled and well-paid occupations saw their pay rates rise but their earnings fall as they lost working hours. Casuals experienced far higher wage rises than permanent staff.

John Robertson, the secretary of Unions NSW, said the research revealed that those who had received the lowest real wage increases were those most dependent on minimum wages and collective bargaining. "In this context the proposed industrial relations changes will only add to the disparity between the winners and losers," he said ...

Other research, conducted by John Shields of Sydney University, found that over the same period the incomes of the 50 highest-paid Australian chief executives had increased by 194 per cent between 1999 and last year.

Dr Shields said it was likely the executives' pay had increased by up to 230 per cent if earnings from share options were taken into consideration.

Also see Ross Gittin's column in the same publication:

Why labour market 'flexibility' can be bad

Date: August 29 2005
www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2005/08/28/1125167552433.html (text)
www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/08/28/1125167552433.html ()
Why labour market 'flexibility' can be bad

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