A massive tax cut worth $240bn over the next 10 years is set to come into effect in 2024. But this tax cut will not help those who are struggling the most. It will not help those on low incomes. People earning $45,000 a year or less will get nothing at all. Meanwhile people earning
The collapse in agreement coverage under Australia’s enterprise bargaining system in Australia in recent years, particularly in the private sector, has focused attention on the need for reforms that will give more workers the effective ability to collectively negotiate better wages and conditions. In the private sector, coverage by a current enterprise agreement has fallen by half since 2013: to below 11% of all workers by March 2021. No wonder wages are lagging so far behind inflation.
The federal government’s budget would have us believe that the cost of living is a sudden problem because of higher oil prices. But the real reason people are feeling the pinch is because their real wages are going backwards. The budget forecasts wage growth of 2.75 per cent in 2021-22, below inflation which is forecast
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s recent declaration – that wage-restrained workers need simply participate in the so-called “Great Reshuffle” to find better-paid jobs – underscores just how disconnected the federal government is from the harsh realities facing many Australian workers. With shades of former treasurer Joe Hockey advising youth priced out of housing to “get a good job that pays good
The great resignation is apparently upon us — workers are walking away from bad jobs. But in Australia, the exodus of women from the workforce says more about structural barriers than worker empowerment.
Across the ditch, the Ardern government in New Zealand is undertaking an ambitious and multi-dimensional effort to address low wages, inequality, and poor job quality. NZ unions have just won the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements, planned for implementation in 2022. FPAs will allow working people to bargain collectively across sectors and start to correct the income and power imbalance between workers and employers.
Over time, insecure work has become more prevalent in the Australian economy. Key drivers of worsening job quality include: decades of economic policies which constructed unemployment “buffers”; insufficient paid work available for all who need it; reductions in the level of unemployment benefits to below-poverty levels, collapse in collective bargaining coverage, and failure to regulate insecure work.
Crikey is reclaiming the “angry woman” trope in a new column about what women achieve through rage, passion and determination. In this inspiring and poetic feature with our Senior Economist Alison Pennington, Alison explains how rage about how the economy works (or doesn’t work) powers her forceful work as an activist economist.
As women lead mobilisations against workplace gendered violence, the federal government passed legislation expanding employer power to use insecure, casual labour in its IR bill – laws that will disproportionately impact the pay and security of women’s jobs.
It doesn’t matter what the crisis, when it comes to the Morrison government the message is clear: you’re on your own.
COVID continues to sweep Europe and the US, while Australia celebrates near-elimination of community transmission. But Australia’s public health success has not come without significant economic and social hardship for large sections of our community – especially migrant workers. Thousands of migrant workers were pulled off the job to stop the spread of COVID-19, and excluded from key government income support programs including JobSeeker and JobKeeper. Temporary migrant workers are still left without access to Medicare.
The Morrison government has proposed sweeping changes to labour laws that will expand unilateral employer power to cut wages and freely deploy casual labour. Together, the Coalition’s proposed changes will accelerate the incidence of insecure work, undermine genuine collective bargaining, and suppress wages growth. Impacts will be felt across the entire workforce – casual and permanent workers alike.
Women have been uniquely and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession: losing more jobs and hours, shouldering a higher unpaid caring work burden, and undertaking essential and frontlines jobs. Without targeted action to rebuild women’s jobs and ease caring demands, decades of collective advances toward decent paid work could be eroded.
Victorians emerging from lockdowns now confront Australia’s harsh COVID-era work reality marked by more insecure jobs, mass unemployment, and long-term work at the kitchen table.
Lockdowns in Victoria have made job polarisations starker than in other states. Entire layers of workers, previously interacting in the flows of the daily commute, the morning coffee, dropping kids off at school, were suddenly pulled apart and isolated from each other. Connected only by the occasional masked ‘hello’ on the street. Australians share the
The Centre for Future Work’s Jim Stanford, and Alison Pennington feature in a collection of interviews on technology, work, climate, and the role of unions, for a new online course Power, Politics and Influence at Work delivered by the University of Manchester, UK.
The federal budget forked out billions in spending — mostly on business tax write-offs and income tax cuts for high income earners — but it was poorly targeted if the intention is to create jobs and lower the unemployment rate. In his episode economists Matt Grudnoff and Alison Pennington unpack what you need to know
With millions facing unemployment and crisis-accelerated job transitions, public investment in the skills and earning capabilities of Australians will be critical to our post-pandemic recovery.
The Morrison government has said it will increase investment in skills and training if the states and territories sign up to an overhaul of the Vocational Education and Training sector. ACTU President Michele O’Neil, Correna Haythorpe, federal president of the AEU and Alison Pennington, senior economist at the Centre for Future Work at the Australia
Findings from a landmark inquiry commissioned by the Andrews Victorian government into the work conditions in the “on demand” (gig) economy have been released. The report’s findings are timely with COVID-era unemployment surging and an expanding pool of vulnerable workers relying on “gig” work to meet living costs.
Women have suffered the worst labour market impacts since the shutdowns. Gender-unequal impacts have been due to women’s greater exposure to customer-facing industries shut down first by public health orders, higher employment intensity in insecure and part-time positions, and an increased caring burden unmet by the state. But instead of providing countervailing support, the federal government is accelerating women’s work crisis.
Training must play a vital role in reorienting the economy after the pandemic, supporting workers training for new jobs including millions of young people entering a depressed labour market without concrete pathways to work. But what kind of jobs will we be doing in 2040? And how prepared is Australia’s skills system (and universities specifically) to play this important role now?
Our nation is confronting the most significant economic challenge in nearly a century. Australia’s own experience of long-term, sustained public investment during post-war reconstruction shows direct tools of government planning and investment will be essential to our recovery today. Yet Scott Morrison continues to pretend his hands are tied: “if there’s no business, there’s no jobs, there’s no income, there’s nothing.”
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy recently issued a directive that going to work with the ‘sniffles’ is ‘off the agenda for every Australian in the foreseeable future.’ But with millions of workers without access to paid sick leave, government plans to lift restrictions on economic activity could risk dangerous and costly outbreaks.
Working from home has great potential to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic: allowing many to keep working and earning an income. But there are also many challenges and risks associated with this major shift in work patterns. So to unpack the implications of everything from Orwellian surveillance programs to the joys of working
Rising pressure on individuals and families to meet their caring needs is the “human face” of decline in workplace protections and bargaining power that has gathered pace since 2013. Meanwhile, the need for fathers and male spouses to take on more caring and household labour is routinely discussed in the public domain. But how have Australia’s work/care policies worked to support a redistribution of caring and household labour to males and fathers?
The unexpected results of the 2019 Commonwealth election have sparked many commentaries regarding what happened, and why. This article, reprinted with permission from Workplace Express, considers the role of the major #ChangeTheRules campaign mobilised by Australian unions in the lead-up to the election – and ponders the movement’s next steps in the continuing debate over labour market policies and industrial relations. It cites both our Economist Alison Pennington, and our Director Jim Stanford, as well as our previous research on the erosion of collective bargaining in Australia.
The recent Victorian election results showed Australian voters want governments to play a pro-active role delivering public services, infrastructure, improved labour standards, and sustainability. They showed that in a time of deep cynicism with federal politics, States (and Territories) can play an important role filling the democratic void left by dysfunction and policy paralysis at