One in four Australians skipping meals shows need to get wages moving again

Published: 01/12/2022
Category: Industrial Relations
Published: 01/12/2022
Category: Industrial Relations

Australians have been forced to make cruel choices because wages have not kept up with cost-of-living. 

Too many Australians have had to pick up a second job to make ends meet and one in four people resorted to skipping meals.  

It’s a shocking figure that has gained massive media attention, making headlines in the ABC and the Guardian. Even The Australian understands that one in four Australian skipping meals means we need urgent reform. 

The Sydney Morning Herald spoke with Australian Council of Trade Unions assistant secretary Liam O’Brien about the dire situation. 

‘‘What’s really concerning about the latest rise in people taking second jobs is that it’s not unique to a particular demographic and it’s workers across all sectors,’’ O’Brien said. 

Worker aren’t just dipping into savings. They’ve having to cut into essential spending and for around a quarter of the country, that means literally not having food on the table.  

Ten years of record low wage growth and 18 months of deep real wage cuts. It’s unacceptable.

Too many Australians have no emergency safety net

On average nationally, one in four people said they would not be able to access an emergency $3,000 on a week’s notice. 

That is a truly scary figure if you consider the floods we’ve already seen tear apart Australian communities this year. And the risk of emergency continues to be a very real one: BOM has predicted a summer of “cyclones and floods”.  

Tasmania in particular is in deep trouble: 40 per cent of Tasmanians said they wouldn’t have the funds.

The island state shows just how crucial it is for workers to see real wage growth. Tassie workers are making $200 a week less than the average Australian worker. 

The Tasmania Needs a Pay Rise report highlighted a shocking gap between Tasmania and the rest of the country: Tasmanian workers are earning around $10,000 less per year than the Australian average.  

Large companies clearly believe that they can get away with paying workers less. And under the current system, they can.  

But in the coming days, that could well be about to change.

Secure Jobs Better Pay bill to address cost of living crisis

The latest polling from The Australia Institute found that nine in 10 Australians believe it’s the government responsibility to drive real wage growth to keep up with cost-of-living.  

“This belief was consistent across all voting intentions, including 81 per cent of Coalition voters,” said Greg Jericho, Labour Market & Fiscal Policy Director at the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work. 

“Two thirds of Australians believe laws with make it easier to bargain collectively will be most effective at getting wages moving,” he said. 

“Working Australians know that the current industrial relations system needs a stronger safety net and a greater ability for workers to bargain for better wages,” Jericho said.  

Workers’ wages across the country have barely budged for a decade.  

The proposed new work laws will get wages moving again. They will ensure no worker is left behind and make it fairer by providing employees access to the benefits of multi-employer bargaining. 

That’s why we need to make sure the Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill passes the Senate. Parliament is debating the bill today so this is our last chance. 

Can you send an email to your Senator telling them that you support the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill? Every email sent helps show that there is massive community support for these crucial laws. 

This game-changer bill is the result of union members putting heads together to achieve real wage growth for workers. 

With a movement of almost two million workers across Australia, together we get things done. That means better wages than non-union members and the workplace conditions you deserve.  

Get your wages moving

One in four Australians skipping meals shows need to get wages moving again

One in four Australians skipping meals shows need to get wages moving again