Australia's Wages and Cost-of-living Crisis

  • 24 August 2022

I want you to know about the union movement's positive agenda for improving Australia's work laws.

Earlier tonight, I was interviewed on the ABC’s 7.30 program, where I talked about the massive problem that is hurting workers and damaging our economy: the wages and cost-of-living crisis.

We have an opportunity to fix this crisis by changing our work laws. And it starts with a review of our bargaining system.

Our bargaining system is overly and unnecessarily complicated. It no longer provides an even playing field for workers, and has become inaccessible, with huge parts of the economy – especially those industries dominated by women and small workplaces – effectively locked out of bargaining.

Only 14% of workers are now covered by an enterprise agreement. This is half the rate of coverage we had a decade ago.

We cannot fix wages growth without fixing collective bargaining. We need a bargaining system which is simple, fair and accessible for all.

Our jobs and workplaces have changed over the past 30 years and our bargaining system needs to as well.

This is not a new problem and it’s not just caused by the pandemic or overseas conflict. Workers’ wages have been frozen or declining for the last decade.

Next week, unions will be attending the new Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

We’ll be taking our positive plan, with common sense proposals to fix collective bargaining, and make it meet the needs of workers, as well as employers.

There’s two things you can do to support our agenda to fix the wages and cost-of living crisis, and improve rights at work for all workers.

Firstly, if you’re not yet a union member, join with almost two million workers today and help drive the positive change we need. You can join online here.

Secondly, if you’re already a member, then you can be a change-maker in your workplace and community by becoming more active in your union.

Contact your union to learn about how you can take real action. You can also contact Australian Unions about how to get active in your community.

Thanks for your support.
In unity,

Sally McManus
ACTU Secretary