Slow improvement in wages growth under enterprise agreements

by Greg Jericho


Wages under enterprise agreements are slowly rising, but remain well below inflation

The latest fortnightly data from the Fair Work Commissions shows the slow but relatively steady improvement in wage growth of enterprise bargaining agreements over the past 5 to 6 months.

The latest release showed 12,974 employees covered by enterprise bargaining agreement lodged with an average wage growth of 3.5%. The individual agreements themselves varied in both length and annual average wage growth.

Some 2,138 employees in the Health and welfare services industry were part of an agreement that would deliver 4.0% average wage growth for 2.4 years, while 1,126 employees in the Social, community, home care and disability services industry are part of an agreement that will deliver just 2.2% average wage growth for 2.2 years.

The fortnightly data is rather erratic, so a rolling 3-month average, weighted to account for the number of employees covered, provides a more accurate picture of wage growth under enterprise agreements. Here we see an average growth of 3.5% down on the 3.8% growth of the previous fortnight, however, since November there has been a solid upward trend.

The data does suggest that the March quarter wager price index figure to be released next month should show some improvement on the December quarter 3.3% growth.

However, all agreements lodged in the past fortnight will still see employees’ real wages fall as inflation outstrips wage growth considerably. Throughout the past year, workers have continued to be the ones who have suffered the most from inflation.

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