The very people who drive our economy are the ones the Morrison Government seems intent to sit out on the sidelines.
Workers are the backbone to a healthy economy. In this episode of On The Job we talk about the importance of supporting workers through wage growth, secure jobs and valuing gendered work.
Understanding those subject areas is the work of these guests who feature in this episode:
Director of the Centre for Future Work Dr Jim Stanford
Policy Director, Social and Industrial with the Centre for Future Work Dr Fiona Macdonald
Laurie Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow at the Carmichael Centre Dr Mark Dean
Dr Stanford is under no illusions about the state of wage growth in this country.
“Dating back to about 2013, we have had record low wage growth in Australia,” Dr Stanford says.
It is hardly a coincidence that this follows a timeline of Coalition Governments in power. Dr Stanford notes how, during this time, power balanced has shifted in favour of employers who now have “more options, more power and more leeway to keep wages down”.
Most of the new jobs created under the Morrison Government have been casual and precarious, leaving workers in positions of insecurity. It’s impossible to plan for the future when you don’t know when or where your next pay cheque is coming from.
The current low unemployment rate hides important parts to this story: it doesn’t tell us about underemployment (people who want more hours of work) and people who want to work but aren’t actively seeking it.
And as Dr MacDonald points out, women have left the workforce during the pandemic due to insecure work.
“Public investment in care – whether it be aged care, disability support or early childhood education and care which is absolutely critical to women’s participation – is such a powerful mechanism for supporting better jobs, for women, and for strengthening our economy,” Dr MacDonald says.
Joining your union is the first step in ensuring that workers have a stable future ahead of them. Together, we are able to collectively demand action from the Government to ensure both quantity and quality of jobs.
“The economy is work. The economy is workers. Until we put them at the centre of this future building of our economy, we’re not going to solve this problem,” Dr Dean says.
Watch the full episode below.