Workers Need The Trifecta
“Although the Quarterly Employment Survey shows that employment and hours worked are up, wages are barely moving,” said Council of Trade Unions economist Peter Conway today.
“What workers really need is the trifecta - more jobs, more hours available for those on reduced hours or casual work, and higher wages,” he said.
“We need to see continued growth in employment and hours of work so that there are expanding employment opportunities in the labour market, but unless real wages start rising, there will be a general perception that workers are not sharing in the benefits of economic growth.”
Peter Conway said that, although a variety of factors influenced the figures, it was clear that wages were not rising when compared to CPI.
The QES showed a fall in wages this quarter and an increase of only 2.4% for the May year. Private sector wages rose by only 1.4% for the year. The labour cost index was up 2.1% for the May year (2% for private sector) and CPI is running at 2.8%.
Peter Conway said that the Labour Costs Index does show however that where there were actual increases rather than no movement, the increase was on average 3.8% in the private sector with a median of 3.0%.
“This is more in line with the sort of increases unions are negotiating but it is hard to generalise as there are many different factors operating,” Peter Conway said.