New IR laws pushing down pay, says ACTU

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New IR laws pushing down pay, says ACTU

An analysis of ABS data by the ACTU shows workers' take home pay is beginning to decline, with average earnings in the last 12 months failing to keep up with inflation for the first time in five years.

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An analysis of ABS data by the ACTU shows workers' take home pay is beginning to decline, with average earnings in the last 12 months failing to keep up with inflation for the first time in five years.

The ACTU blames this decline on the Federal Government's new IR laws.

Averaging earnings down

Releasing the analysis, ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said average earnings in the year to June 2006 dropped in real terms by 1% - 'that is, working Australians have experienced a fall in average weekly earnings of $11 a week as a result of downward pressure on wages and rising living costs'.

'This is the first big drop in average earnings since the introduction of the GST,' Combet said. 'If we discount the effect of the GST on living costs, this is the first time that average earnings have declined in real terms for 10 years.'

Combet said the historically low average earnings are 'caused by the Federal Government's 18 month freeze on pay rises for award wage workers as part of its new IR laws, and a fall in overtime, penalty rate and bonus payments to workers under the laws'.

'The Government's own workplace agency (the OEA) has admitted that 63% of AWAs registered under the new laws scrap penalty rates, a third cut overtime pay, half get rid of shift allowances and another third do away with public holiday payments,' Combet said.

'At the same time as workers are facing a fall in their take-home pay, the cost of living is up with the increase in CPI for the June quarter up by 1.6% - the biggest increase for a decade, excluding the GST.

'No wonder working families are struggling to make ends meet.'

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