Fair Work Commission data shows that unions deliver higher wages

by Greg Jericho

Enterprise bargaining agreements deliver better wages, but union backed ones deliver the best.

In the 6 weeks since the Fair Work Commission began releasing fortnightly snapshots of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement data, one thing has been very clear – unions deliver.

In every fortnight thus far, union-backed enterprise agreements have delivered significantly higher wage rises than non-union agreements.

In the two weeks to 12 August union-backed EBA’s averaged an annual wage rise of 3.8% over the course of the agreement, compared to 2.9% by non-union backed agreements.

The data also reveals there is little evidence of a “wages breakout”. While union-backed EBAs consistently deliver better outcomes, all agreements show little signs of increasing wages growth. Although the data is non-adjusted and thus subject to variance from one-off or large agreements in any fortnightly period, as yet wages growth has been relatively steady over the 6 weeks of agreements lodged with the FWC.

Indeed the highest average wage growth of 3.9% in the agreements made in the fortnight to 15 July remains well below the current annual inflation rate of 6.1% and even further below the expected rate by the end of the year of 7.8%.

But while wages struggle to keep up with the rising cost of living, the evidence is clear that the best chance to get a decent pay rise is by joining a union.

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