Perhaps the only thing slower than watching grass grow is watching the rate of wage increases in Australia.
Wage growth has flatlined, rising by a measly 0.7 per cent to 2.6 per cent according to the ABS, and real wages have actually further decreased.
With inflation at just over 6 per cent – predicted to reach 7.75 per cent by the end of the year – real wages have now effectively decreased to 2011 levels.
It is clear that we have a serious problem with how Australia’s economy and workplace laws operate.
CEOs sitting on multi-million dollar pay packets have promised for years that wages would go up when productivity goes up. But productivity has risen every year while wages have been frozen or declined.
With real wages going backwards, so too are our living standards. Workers now have the lowest share of the national wealth in recorded history.
We can also see this unfair treatment of workers in the gaping pay chasm between CEOs and workers. On average, CEOs is paid 132 times more than the average Australian worker.
To put that in perspective, the average CEO is paid $176,000 per week. It takes the average worker two and a half years to earn the same amount.
Who are the ones reeling in the big bucks?
In recent years big business CEOs have been doing well. Really well.
One example for you to think about next time you have to buy a phone charger or some earphones is the mindbogglingly huge pay discrepancy at JB HI Fi.
JB HI Fi CEO Terry Smart receives $75,769 in pay per week – more than what the average JB HI FI worker earns in an entire year. Does he really think he works 65 times harder?
Meanwhile, as everyday people pay sky-high petrol prices at the pump, mining and gas giant BHP has revealed it total revenue has jumped up by 18 per cent.
Oil and gas profits are up 4,836 per cent (yes, you read that number right) to USD $10.7 billion. BHP CEO Mike Henry’s pay is USD $14million which equates to a lot of full petrol tanks.
Hot tips for landing your next pay raise
Business profits are up. Productivity rates are up. Workers are the driving force behind that growth – but are not getting paid fairly for it.
Workers who have union negotiated enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs) at their workplaces – rather than Awards or individual contracts – are far better off. It’s one of the big reasons why union members, on average, earn $250 more than non-union members.
EBAs are where workers come together in their union to negotiate with their employer for pay rises and better working conditions.
This collective approach is often far more powerful than trying to negotiate terms alone with your employer one-on-one. It also prevents the employer from playing off employees against each other.
EBAs are required to offer better conditions overall than the relevant award that would otherwise apply. In other words, they are good news for workers looking for better wages.