No, you’re not imagining it. Your energy bill is accumulating more digits without you doing anything. And even if you’ve had record-breaking wage increases, it’s simply not covering the basics.
Is it because big companies are struggling to make money? Nope.
Last week Energy giant AGL found itself in trouble for charging people gas prices more than three times higher than what it paid gas producers. The company’s gas profits have gone up 24 per cent. Meanwhile, workers are forced to skip meals to save on costs.
But with new laws coming later this year, Australia’s lowest paid workers will have the power to change this grim reality.
Love for the job can only go so far
Early childhood educators have long endured low pay in an industry that is made up of mostly women and it’s taken a toll – educators are leaving in droves.
Educator Shirley explained that employees literally can’t afford to stay in the sector any longer.
“Educators need better pay, okay. With inflation, they can’t afford to live,” she said.
For the sake of workers, kids and parents alike, union members have called for the government to fund a 25 per cent wage increase.
The pay rise is essential not only for fairness but also to attract more people to desperately understaffed childcare centres. With the situation so dire, centres are left with little choice but to turn parents away.
Many educators still in the industry do it out of love and dedication. But dedication does not pay the bills.
How you can land a pay rise too
Early childhood educators went on strike last year for higher wages. And so did teachers. Nurses. Aged care workers. Workers across the country have been hit hard with unaffordable everyday costs and these strikes were a last resort.
How have we reached this point? Because wage growth has looked like a bumpy footpath for the past decade while corporate profits have scaled mountains.
That gigantic gap between wages and profit hasn’t happened by chance. Workplace laws have long been out of date for modern workplaces.
At the end of 2022, union members successfully pushed for new laws that mean workers can begin to take back control.
Next month you can start benefiting from those laws when they are officially implemented and get your pay moving again.
You can learn more about how bargaining works here. But if you want to make the most of this opportunity, you really need to be part of a union.
Bargaining for better pay only works if you have other workers sticking with you. And that’s what unions are all about.
Trying to negotiate a pay rise alone with your boss? That’s incredibly tricky. But doing it with your workmates is far more effective.
Because of that approach, union members earn 26 per cent more on average than non-members. Union members support each other, no matter who you are or what job you do.