23 June 2021

The Guardian reports on new McKell Institute research: “The average Australian worker would be earning $254 more a week if wages growth had continued at the rate achieved under the last Labor government, according to a new analysis. The progressive thinktank, the McKell Institute, will release a report on Wednesday analysing the impact of a slowdown in average weekly ordinary time earnings since the Coalition gained power in September 2013. Wages grew 4.6% in the period 2007 to 2013, compared to 2.5% under the Coalition government. … The McKell Institute blames a suite of government policies for suppressing wages including public sector pay freezes, an increase in visas for temporary migrant workers, inaction on wage theft and the gig economy, and failing to press the Fair Work Commission for bigger minimum wage increases. … Wages were stagnating in Australia even before the Covid-19 recession. The budget forecasts wage growth of 1.5% in 2021-22, below inflation which is forecast to grow by 1.75%. … The McKell report noted the FWC had cut penalty rates in 2017 in the retail, hospitality, fast-food and pharmacy industries. Labor and the Greens attempted to overturn the cut through legislation, but it was opposed by the Coalition and crossbench. Despite the Morrison government promising to criminalise wage theft it withdrew new penalties for underpayment from its industrial relations reforms.” Coalition governments are bad for working people.