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Workers in all parts of the economy are confronting twin threats from accelerating changes in technology and automation, and the ongoing shift toward more precarious and irregular forms of work — including “gigs” on digital platforms. The transportation sector is widely acknowledged to be one of the most susceptible to both of these trends. The
In October the Senate of Australia launched an important new inquiry into the Future of Work and the Future of Workers. The terms of reference for the inquiry include: “The future earnings, job security, employment status and working patterns of Australians; The different impact of that change on Australians, particularly on regional Australians, depending on
The Fair Work Commission’s ruling to pre-emptively block industrial action (including restrictions on overtime and a one-day work stoppage) by Sydney-area train workers has brought renewed attention to the legal and administrative barriers which limit collective action by Australian workers. The Sydney trains experience is a high-profile example of a much larger trend. Across the
The workers’ compensation system in NSW has been dramatically scaled back and restructured since the current state government came to office in 2011. Real benefit payouts have been cut by 30 percent, with the resulting “savings” passed on to employers in lower premiums (down 40 percent over the past decade). Yet injured workers continue to
Budget-cutting political leaders regularly target the jobs and incomes of public sector workers as the first and most politically convenient target of their austerity measures. But their crusade to balance the books by downsizing headcounts, intensifying work, and freezing the pay of the workers who deliver essential public services can backfire. In this new report,
The record-slow pace of wage growth in Australia’s economy is not just making it difficult for families to balance their budgets, it also threatens severe long-run damage to Australia’s superannuation retirement system. That’s the finding of new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute. A key factor behind the wage slowdown
This week the ABS released new GDP data, covering the June quarter, which confirm the continuing structural shift away labour toward capital in the distribution of income. We have prepared a short briefing note, contrasting the strong growth in corporate profits over the past year with the stagnation of labour incomes. Workers simply do not
Our Centre has conducted considerable research into the impacts of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to substantially reduce penalty rates for Sunday and holiday for workers under the terms of the Modern Awards covering four sectors of the economy: fast food, retail, hospitality, and pharmacy. Penalties for Sunday work will be reduced by up to
In conjunction with the National Manufacturing Summit, titled “From Opportunity to Action,” at Parliament House in Canberra on June 21, 2017, the Centre for Future Work has released a new research paper on the opportunities to sustain and expand manufacturing jobs in Australia. Our new report, Manufacturing: A Moment of Opportunity, by Jim Stanford and
Amidst increasing concerns among economists and budget forecasters about the historic stagnation of Australian wages, the latest GDP statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have confirmed that the proportion of national economic output that is paid to workers has reached an all-time low.
The Fair Work Commission released two major decisions this week: its order regarding the timing for the implementation of reductions in penalty rates for Sunday and public holiday work in four major retail and hospitality awards, followed by its annual review of the general minimum wage. Both decisions will take effect on July 1. It
The Australian government’s surprising decision to impose a new tax targeted precisely at the biggest financial institutions in the country continues to generate public debate. We have reviewed the structure, likely effects, and economic and regulatory context of the proposed 0.06% levy on selected liabilities of the 5 largest financial institutions in Australia. The loud
As Australians debate the Fair Work Commission’ decision to reduce penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, the Centre for Future Work has published new research on the prevalence of weekend work in other sectors of Australia’s economy – and the macroeconomic importance of extra income generated by weekend penalty pay. The analysis is based
Government and business leaders have proposed a range of possible “transition” mechanisms to ease the economic hardship, and defuse political anger, following the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for work on Sundays and public holidays in the retail and hospitality industries. This briefing note critically reviews several of these proposals. Whether they
Today is International Women’s Day, a time to reflect on the continued inequality faced by women — including in the world of work. Traditional measures of the “gender pay gap” indicate that women earn around 17 percent less than men, in ordinary pay in equivalent full-time positions. But the situation is worse than that, because
As Australia and other countries shift their economies toward lower-carbon forms of energy and production, problems of displacement and transition for workers in carbon-intensive industries must be addressed as a top priority. The coal-fired electricity generation industry is on the front lines of this challenge. Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford was recently invited
Economic insecurity is one of the greatest factors inhibiting victims of domestic violence from escaping violent situations at home. To address that problem unions and employers have developed paid domestic violence leave provisions which allow victims to attend legal proceedings, medical appointments, or other events or activities related to the violence they have experienced, without
The unit price of aluminium is more than 50 times greater than the unit price of bauxite. Yet Australia is growing its presence at the lower-value end of this industry – while perversely shrinking its presence in an industry whose output sells for 50 times as much. In recent years, Australia’s downstream capabilities in aluminium
Remember when Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton blamed unionized construction workers for the high cost of housing in Australia? The idea that workers (not property speculators or bankers) are to blame for the property bubble is pretty far-fetched — in fact, it sparked a viral storm on social media, using the #blameunions hashtag.
The focus of this year’s Go Home on Time Day is the threat to the “Great Aussie Holiday.” Thanks to the rise of precarious work in all its forms, a growing share of Australian workers (about one-third, according to our research) have no access to something we once took for granted: a paid annual holiday.
We’ve known for over two years that this day was coming. But that won’t ease its economic and social pain. The shutdown of Australia’s mass motor vehicle assembly industry is now upon us. Ford’s assembly plant in Broadmeadows, Victoria, was the first to go dark: the final Aussie-made Ford has already rolled off the assembly
The state government of New South Wales recently awarded a contract for the purchase of 512 new intercity passenger rail cars to a consortium that will manufacture the equipment in South Korea. The contract is worth $2.3 billion, including an unspecified sum to cover maintenance of the double-decker cars over an initial 15-year period. The
For the new report from the Centre for Future Work ranking Prime Ministerships by 10 key economic performance indicators, head to the CFW website – here.
The problems in Australia’s manufacturing sector are well-known, and many Australians have concluded that the decline in manufacturing is inevitable and universal: that high-wage countries like Australia must accept the loss of manufacturing as an economic reality. But international statistics disprove this pessimism. Worldwide, manufacturing is growing, not shrinking, including in many advanced high-wage countries.
The insecure nature of work in Australia today can be illustrated through the following infographic (based on 2015 data published by the ABS). Australia has over 19 million residents of working age (which the ABS defines as anyone over 15). Of those, 12.5 million “participated” in the labour market (by working or actively seeking it).