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New research from the Centre for Future Work challenges the methodology and conclusions of a recent Productivity Commission study of productivity in Australia’s container port system.
The report, by economist Dr Phil Toner, suggests that the Commission’s exercise was ideologically motivated, and failed to properly interpret its own data.
This year marks the fourteenth annual Go Home on Time Day (GHOTD), an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute that shines a spotlight on the maldistribution of working hours and the scale of unpaid overtime worked by Australians.
Working beyond scheduled hours has long been a problem for Australian workers. The nature and scale of overtime has more recently been shaped by the rise in flexible working arrangements and the integration of information and communication technology at work. Checking emails on the weekend, taking multiple-time-zone calls out of hours, and teleconferencing from the dining table have all become familiar experiences amongst workers. This both enabled working from home conditions during the pandemic for a large portion of workers, and accelerated patterns of overtime through the blurring of lines between work and home life.
The provision of essential public services generates extraordinary and far-reaching economic and social benefits for the Hunter region. A new report prepared by the Centre for Future Work documents the scale of these benefits for workers, families and communities across the Hunter. The fact sheets provide a portrait of the different ways public services build a stronger economy, strong communities, and better lives.
New research from the Centre for Future Work quantifies the dramatic risks faced by workers whose employers unilaterally terminate enterprise agreements during the course of renegotiations. This aggressive employer strategy, which became common after a precedent-setting 2015 court decision, would be curtailed by new industrial relations legislation proposed by the Commonwealth government.
The reforms proposed in the Secure Jobs, Better Wages bill represent important but incremental steps in restoring a better balance of bargaining power between workers and employers, and lifting wage growth back toward a normal and healthier pace.
Since 2012 the NSW government has arbitrarily suppressed pay gains for workers in state-funded public services (including health care, education, public administration, emergency services, and more). At first those pay caps were justified as a deficit-reduction measure, and then later as being supposedly tied to inflation trends. But both those arguments have been discarded, given state surpluses in most years since the cap was introduced, and now the dramatic acceleration in inflation (now running more than twice as fast as allowed compensation gains).
The new Albanese Labor government has tabled a revised budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, revising revenue and spending forecasts originally contained in the March budget (from the previous Morrison government), and providing new funding to support several new programs and policies.
Over the past year, inflation has accelerated both in Australia and in most advanced economies, to rates much faster than have been observed for many years. Not unsurprisingly, this has caused much concern among people whose cost of living has risen abruptly. It has also created great challenges for policy makers: the risks of tackling higher inflation are high, given that the conventional response is to reduce aggregate demand, economic activity, and employment in order to “cool off” spending and thus reduce price pressures. This can mean that the “cure” can be worse than the “disease” – especially if, as occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, a recession follows efforts to constrain inflation.
Seafarers perform difficult, often dangerous work that is essential to the operation of global supply chains, delivering all the merchandise we take for granted in modern life. Yet because of the legal vacuum governing international marine traffic, a lack of resources and attention for enforcement by national regulators, and the corporate strategies of shipping companies and their customers, seafarers are subject to some of the worst exploitation and abuse of any occupation in the world economy.
Current work and care arrangements in Australia contribute to economic and social disadvantage for carers, the vast majority of whom are women. Patterns of labour force participation and employment provide clear indicators of the inequities inherent in Australia’s current care and work arrangements. These patterns show we do not have equitably shared care arrangements, nor equitable employment opportunities and outcomes for women. Australia requires much stronger support systems, more effective work and care policies and more secure and fairly-paid jobs to address these problems.
The new Commonwealth government is hosting a major Jobs Summit in September 2022, bring together representatives from a range of stakeholder groups to discuss the challenges facing Australia’s labour market, and how to achieve strong employment, job quality and security, and better skills and training opportunities.
The recent federal election featured important debate regarding the rising cost of living in Australia, and whether and how wages should be boosted to keep up with higher prices. One exchange, late in the campaign, occurred when ALP leader Anthony Albanese stated his belief that wages should keep up with prices — but then was
Almost one in five Australians (and a higher proportion of young workers) acknowledge working with potential COVID symptoms over the course of the pandemic, according to new opinion research published by the Centre for Future Work. The research confirms the public health dangers of Australia’s existing patchwork system of sick leave and related entitlements. The main
In 2021 the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that gig work, independent contracting and other ‘indirect’ employment arrangements be restricted in the publicly-funded aged care sector.
A comprehensive review of Australian wage trends indicates that wage growth is likely to remain stuck at historically weak levels despite the dramatic disruptions experienced by the Australian labour market through the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that targeted policies to deliberately lift wages are needed to break free of the low-wage trajectory that has
This report from the Carmichael Centre argues that Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services should be treated as a strategic industry of national importance – not just a ‘market’, and not just a ‘cost’ item on government budgets.
If the federal government lifts annual higher education spending to 1% of GDP, it could repair the destruction inflicted by the COVID pandemic and make universities more accessible and affordable for all Australians, according to new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute. The report analyses the current worrying state of
Expanded ECEC services would provide a badly-needed boost to Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
The Commonwealth Government has tabled its budget for the 2022-23 financial year. As the nation emerges from two years of lockdowns and border closures, with less than two months until a federal election, this budget is focused on getting the government re-elected – rather than addressing the challenges of public health, stagnant wages, and sustainability facing Australia.
Strong vocational education and training (VET) systems are vital to the success of dynamic, innovative economies and inclusive labour markets. Australia’s VET system once provided well-established and dependable education-to-jobs pathways, but a combination of policy vandalism and fiscal mismanagement plunged the VET system into a lasting and multidimensional crisis.
New research from the Centre for Future Work shows that the rapid transformation of Australia’s aluminium facilities to sustainable sources of electricity would spark substantial economic benefits: for the aluminium industry, its supply chain, and for the burgeoning renewable energy sector (which would achieve greater critical mass from major new power supply contracts).
Global automotive manufacturing is rapidly transitioning to the production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in line with technological advancements and the global community’s commitment to addressing climate change. This transition presents an enormous opportunity for Australia to rebuild its vehicle manufacturing industry, taking advantage of our competitive strengths in renewable energy, extractive industries, manufacturing capabilities, and
New research on international collective bargaining systems, released today in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Labour and Industry, finds that Australia’s industrial relations system is rapidly losing its ability to support wages in the face of numerous challenges (now including the Omicron outbreak).
On the heels of new data showing further erosion of Australia’s collective bargaining system, researchers and practitioners from five countries have identified best practices from other countries that could strengthen collective bargaining and lift wages.
The Victorian Government’s policy of capping of local government rates revenue in Victoria is a regressive move on economic, social and democratic grounds. By arbitrarily tying the growth in total rates revenue in each local government area to price indexes, the state government restricts the ability of local governments to respond to the COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted global labour markets, and exposed long-standing gaps in social protection systems. Governments around the industrialised world injected hundreds of billions of dollars into a range of unprecedented crisis measures: to support individuals who lost work, to subsidise employers to retain workers despite the fall-off in business, and to facilitate workers to stay away from work when required for health reasons. More recently, as the pandemic progressed and vaccination became widespread, governments have begun considering how to transition toward a post-COVID policy stance.
2021 marks the thirteenth annual Go Home on Time Day (GHOTD), an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute that shines a spotlight on overwork among Australians, including excessive overtime that is often unpaid. Last year’s report emphasised that 2020 had been extraordinary and difficult, and 2021 has brought little reprieve.
Our research at the Centre for Future Work is motivated by a deep commitment to improving the jobs, working conditions, and living standards of working people in Australia and around the world. We combine our knowledge of economics, our quantitative and qualitative research, and our connections with trade unionists and social movements to develop arguments and evidence that supports campaigns for decent work, stronger communities, and sustainability.
Information industries have lost some 60,000 jobs in Australia in the last 15 years, almost half during the COVID-19 pandemic. And a new research report highlights the need for active policy supports to stabilise the media industry, and protect the public good function of quality journalism.
New research confirms that workers in casual and insecure jobs have borne the lion’s share of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic – both the first lockdowns in 2020, and the more recent second wave of closures. Since May, workers in casual and part-time jobs have suffered over 70% of job losses from renewed lockdowns and