WorkChoices a brake on wages? Not so, says Hockey

News

WorkChoices a brake on wages? Not so, says Hockey

Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, has claimed the Government's WorkChoices legislation is delivering wage growth for all, but an IR expert says it is keeping wages low in the retail and hospitality sectors.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, has claimed the Government's WorkChoices legislation is delivering wage growth for all, but an IR expert says it is keeping wages low in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The latest ABS figures show that wages have increased in the March quarter by 1% which has lifted the annual increase to 4.1%.

Claims were 'scaremongering'

'It is pleasing to note that growth in industries such as retail (1.1%, up from 0.7% in the previous March quarter) and accommodation, cafes and restaurants (1.4%, up from 0.5% in the previous March quarter) was strong,' Hockey said. 'This is the strongest March quarter wage growth ever recorded for accommodation, cafes and restaurants.

'The Labor Party and the union bosses have spent the last year predicting wages in retail and hospitality will fall. Today's data proves their claims are nothing more than base scaremongering.'

However the statistics show wages are only just keeping pace with inflation in industries where AWAs are most prevalent.

Bureau of Statistics figures show wages grew by 4.1% in the year since the laws were introduced, well above the inflation rate of 2.4%. However, wages for retail workers rose only 2.8%, and 2.9% for employees in accommodation, cafes and restaurants.

A third of all AWAs are in the retail, accommodation and food services industries.

Wages gap now 'widest on record'

A Professor of industrial relations at Griffith University, David Peetz, said the gap between wages growth in the retail and hospitality industries and the national average was now the widest on record.

'The bargaining power in both those industries is not very strong,' he said.

ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, said it was clear 'significant cuts' had occurred in wages and conditions in these particular industries.

Westpac Chief Economist, Bill Evans, said growth has been very moderate in sectors like retail, accommodation and recreation.

'There must be an element of the new WorkChoices laws which is containing those,' he said.

Explanation for wage restraint

Economists are also using WorkChoices as an explanation for why wages are so restrained when the jobless rate is at a 32-year low.

Related

Employers and ACTU dispute WorkChoices job figures

Wages not keeping up with inflation, says survey

Wages highest in mining, lowest in hospitality: ABS

  

 

Post details