Enterprise agreements deliver strong wage growth – which is why employers hate them

by Greg Jericho


Enterprise agreements lodged in the past 3 months have helped recover some lost income for workers.

The latest figures from the Fair Work Commission reveal good wage growth is continuing among enterprise agreements with the 3-month weighted average of annual wage growth hitting a high of 4.2%.

Enterprise agreements historically have delivered higher wages than other forms of wage setting, however, over the past 2 years, the opposite has been the case. This has meant that there have been some catch-up required given the growth of inflation.

In July and September, enterprise agreements lodged with the FWC consistently averaged wage growth above 4%. The most recent fortnightly data showed a slowing to just an average of 3.5%. The past fortnight was driven largely by agreements in the finance sector which covered 34,125 workers. These 3 agreements had an average wage growth over the next 3 years of 3.4%.

While there will be attempts to paint the figures as evidence of the need for higher interest rates to slow wage growth we need to realise that even the 4.2% average is well below the latest inflation growth of 5.4%. Workers have been the victims of inflation and they deserve to begin recapturing the lost real incomes.

The data shows that enterprise agreements do deliver strong results for workers. The government’s reform of the industrial relations enabling workers to collectively bargain will deliver fairer and better returns for workers,

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