124 voices call for better deal
Over 100 labour market experts have signed an open letter calling for higher wages.
The letter urges policy action to boost wages growth in Australia, with growing concerns that stagnant wages are threatening the economy.
The 124 economists, lawyers and specialist labour market researchers, want new measures to raise minimum wages, boost collective bargaining, reduce wage caps on the public sector, drive down pay inequity and constrain the outsourcing of “normal employment responsibilities”.
“If those proposals are implemented, in whole or in part, we expect they would support a moderate but meaningful improvement in wage growth in future years, lifting wage increases back above consumer price inflation and towards traditional benchmarks (of 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent per year),” the letter states.
“The consequences of this unusually slow wage growth are many and varied, and include weaker consumer spending, greater household indebtedness and financial stress, slower growth in government revenues, and widening inequality.
“These structural and institutional factors include wage suppression by governments (affecting not just the public sector, but businesses or non-profit organisations reliant on public funding or procurement), the erosion of collective bargaining, a persistent gender pay gap, the expansion of precarious forms of employment and fragmented work arrangements (including independent contracting, temporary work, franchising, labour hire and gig work), and so-called 'wage theft'.”
The Federal Government has not been receptive to repeated calls for measures like those advocated in the letter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says giving people a “living wage” would come at the cost of jobs.
Mr Morrison recently described said calls by the ACTU to for a higher minimum wage would be like having a policy that “people should be sacked”.