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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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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 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.
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
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disruptions, both within Australia and globally, have highlighted the strategic importance of a vibrant manufacturing sector to national economic performance and resilience. The Economic References Committee of the Senate of Australia recently conducted an inquiry into the future of Australia’s manufacturing industry, and the policy measures that are essential to ensuring its presence and success.
Australia’s universities were uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession — including the closure of borders to most international students, the implementation of new COVID-safe instruction practices, and effective exclusion from Commonwealth support programs like JobKeeper.
As one of its first legislative acts, the new Commonwealth government is proposing to provide 10 days of paid leave for victims of family and domestic violence, as a right enshrined in Australia’s National Employment Standards. This will provide victims of FDV with important economic security as they work to address or escape their situations. Access to such leave has been shown to be effective in reducing the subsequent incidence of violence, and assisting victims and their families in rebuilding their lives.
The Centre for Future Work has prepared a 4-page summary of our recent detailed report on funding needed improvements in aged care services in Australia, in the wake of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
As Treasurer during the 1980s, Paul Keating lamented that Australian governments had for decades been allowing the country’s sophisticated industrial base to fall apart as unsophisticated raw materials came to dominate the nation’s exports and as a result, its economy slipped into developing-world status. Keating’s famous warning of Australia’s looming ‘banana republic’ status spurred the Hawke and subsequent Keating Labor governments into action on economic restructuring, which included considering a range of industry policy intervention options to put Australia on a track to advanced, industrial status, as had been the aim of post-war nation-building that helped to institute an advanced manufacturing industrial base in Australia.
Australian society is experiencing an epidemic of mental illness that imposes enormous costs on individuals with poor mental health, their families, and the broader economy. There is no doubt that the stress, isolation and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made this crisis even worse. Unsafe workplaces contribute significantly to the incidence of mental
Australian society is experiencing an epidemic of mental illness that imposes enormous costs on individuals with poor mental health, their families, and the broader economy. There is no doubt that the stress, isolation and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made this crisis even worse.
Implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will require additional Commonwealth funding of at least $10 billion per year, and there are several revenue tools which the government could use to raise those funds. While the Royal Commission’s 148 recommendations were not explicitly costed, the Centre’s report shows that
Australia’s electricity industry constitutes a large and critical component of our national economic infrastructure. The industry produces $25 billion per year in value- added. It employs around 50,000 Australians, paying out $6 billion per year in wages and salaries. It makes $45 billion in annual purchases from a diverse and far-reaching supply chain, that provides the sector with inputs ranging from resources to equipment to construction to services.
In December 2020, the Senate of Australia launched an important inquiry into the federal government’s proposed Fair Work Amendment Bill.
Core features of the legislation include clarifying and expanding employer power to hire workers on a casual basis, obtain greater flexibility in the use of permanent part-time workers (adjusting hours up or down without penalty, much like casual workers), and exercise greater unilateral wage-fixing influence in enterprise agreement (EA)-making.
Australia’s labour market experienced unprecedented volatility during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting recession. In the first part of the year, employment declined faster and more deeply than in any previous economic downturn, as workplaces were closed to control the spread of infection. Then, after May, employment rebounded strongly. The subsequent recovery has replaced over 80% of the jobs lost in the initial downturn. While considerable ground remains to be covered to complete the employment recovery, the turn-around in the quantity of work has been encouraging.
New research by the Centre for Future Work, commissioned by health care industry super fund HESTA, finds that a planned transition of Australia’s labour market away from fossil fuel jobs could occur without involuntary layoffs or severe disruption to communities—if governments focus on a planned and fair transition. That transition needs to include: a clear, long-term timeline, measures to facilitate inter-industry mobility and voluntary severance as fossil fuels are phased-out, and generous retraining and diversification policies.
A new report from the Centre for Future Work highlights the continuing economic importance of Alcan’s aluminium smelter in Portland, VIC, and discusses the potential of new renewable energy technologies to underpin the facility’s rejuvenation and long-term viability.
The failure of the Commonwealth to confirm that it will maintain funding for community service organisations could threaten up to 12,000 jobs in that sector, at a moment when those services are critical to Australia’s pandemic-damaged economy. That’s the conclusion of new research on the economic importance of Commonwealth pay equity funding, conducted by the