Wage trends in enteprise bargaining

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Wage trends in enteprise bargaining

Average annual wage increases (AAWI) in enterprise agreements in Australia for the March quarter 1998 are lower than for the previous quarter, with an across the board average decrease of 0.3%.

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Average annual wage increases (AAWI) in enterprise agreements in Australia for the March quarter 1998 are lower than for the previous quarter, with an across the board average decrease of 0.3%.

The ADAM Report for the 1998 March quarter was released by CCH/ACCIRT (Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research & Training).

According to the report, the AAWI for enterprise agreements formalised in the March quarter 1998 is 4.1% down from 4.4% for the December quarter. The decline is only reflected in the private sector agreements; there has been a marginal increase in public sector agreements. The AAWI for private sector employees is 4.3% down from 4.6% in the December quarter and the public sector has increased from 3.8% in the December quarter to 3.9% in the March quarter.

The report gives a picture of the AAWI in each industry and this demonstrates that in industries such as mining and construction and food beverage and tobacco manufacturing the increases achieved are higher than the average increase of 4.1%. In these industries the AAWI was 4.9%. In other industries such as personal services the AAWI is 3.0% which is substantially lower than the AAWI of 4.1% as mentioned above.

The increases that are paid to employees are often dependent upon the extent of the changes implemented in the workplace as a result of the agreement. If there are substantial changes being introduced in the workplace through enterprise agreement negotiations the wage increases paid to employees are more likely to be higher than in those workplaces where the changes implemented through the enterprise agreement are less substantial.

Another factor affecting the increases that employees receive via enterprise bargaining may be the involvement of a union negotiating for an enterprise agreement. The ADAM Report shows that where an AAWI of 2% or less was achieved in enterprise agreement negotiations 25% of these agreements were negotiated without the involvement of a union. In enterprise agreements where the increase achieved was 6% or more, only 9.2% of these agreements were negotiated without union involvement.

The duration of enterprise agreements may also influence the level of wage increases that employees receive. The majority of agreements (54.8%) operate for between 13 to 24 months.

These figures would seem to indicate a continuing general trend towards lower wage increases.

 

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