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Wages rises needed in difficult times


03 November 2008

Wages rises needed in difficult times

Wage statistics out today show a modest rise, but the employment figures confirm that the number of jobs in the economy is shrinking, said Peter Conway, Council of Trade Unions Economist.

The Labour Cost Index shows that wages rose by 3.6 percent in the September 2008 year - 1.5 percent less than the increase in the Consumer Price Index which was 5.1 percent. The unadjusted Labour Cost Index measured the annual average wage rise as 5.4 percent which is slightly down on the last two quarterly updates.

"As the economy slows it is always harder to get decent pay increases but it is important that we keep up the momentum to lift real wages. We still languish 27.6 percent behind Australian average wages despite the gap shrinking in recent years. And we need the minimum wage to keep rising also to protect the incomes of the lowest paid."

"The employment figures reflect a slowing economy with around 10,200 fewer jobs overall including significant drops in both manufacturing and transport employment."

"These figures confirm the need for a comprehensive stimulus package on infrastructure, skills, retraining, and assistance for affected workers," Peter Conway said.


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