Feb 20, 2014

The dirty secret behind those calls for employee wage cuts

While business demands lower wages, the current system has delivered a real wages cut to Australian workers, Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer write.

It was truly awful timing.

Yesterday Australian Industry Group boss Innes Willox delivered a lunchtime address to the “workplace relations special interest group” of the exclusive Brisbane Club. It was billed by his media people as a “major IR speech”, though as it turned out it was the same industrial relations speech every employer representative has given for years, calling for flexibility and reform and attacking trade unions and the Fair Work Act as impediments to productivity growth and getting business costs down. Within a couple of sentences, Willox was declaring “we are a high-cost economy … We need to start cutting our costs now … We need to find ways to lift productivity,” etc, etc — you know the drill.

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10 thoughts on “The dirty secret behind those calls for employee wage cuts

  1. MJPC

    Thank you BK and GD for insight into these toady’s (as if it wasn’t already known). Closely allied must the the leaking of information from the SPC debacle where any Fed Govt conditions to accompany bail out money was reduction in their employee’s wages and conditions by placing them into an award.
    Work Choices Mk.2 is coming in by stealth.
    Look what is happening regarding Federal Government employee certified agreement negotiations at present to see the governments ideas at work.
    The missing part from the ABS is how far executive salaries have risen in the same periods? I guess the attendee’s repaste at citizen Wilcox’s feedbag is paid for by the taxpayers as a business expense; It’s enough to make a worker gag; revolution now!

  2. Jimmyhaz

    This is the Coalition’s economic policy succeeding at doing exactly what it is meant to do. This is why they are pushing so hard for the macro-economically meaningless surplus. On one hand it means that they get to slash the welfare payments from those who are undeserving, and on the other, the lack of government spending drives a lack of demand in the economy, which results in a loss of jobs and a decrease in the power of unions, giving an employer’s paradise such as you see in the US.

    The worst thing about this is that the one it hurts the most is these businesses pushing for wages to be driven down. Sure, it decreases overheads in the short term, but the depressed demand caused by the lack of money in circulation hurts them in the long run, as people can’t spend money that they don’t have on their product.

  3. Daly

    Just talked to a US friend who after 40 years work as a physiotherapist is poor. That’s what Abbott and Hockey want to happen in Australia. The facts don’t matter, it is about shredding te community to pay the rich.

  4. klewso

    So what else was on their “bill of fair” – besides scapegoat?

  5. Electric Lardyland

    Well put, Jimmy. I’ve always thought that was a major flaw of the market fundamentalist argument; that is, they never quite seem to grasp, that if you destroy the purchasing power of everyone except those working in management, then this is likely to see a downturn in the amount of your product being purchased.
    On a slight tangent, I think this article hints at why so many modern right wing ideologues, gibber on about elites. I mean, so often the figures, supplied by academics, scientists and public servants, just don’t back up the ideology. So instead of adjusting the ideology, they launch campaigns labelling these people as elites, and labelling their studies, as data that has been manipulated to preserve the author’s privileged position in society.
    Strangely, these criticisms never seem to apply to overpaid columnists, writing for multinational media organisations, who get much of their story ideas, from wealthy conservative think tanks, who in turn, get their funding from some of the world’s most opulent corporations.

  6. Bill Hilliger

    I believe mainstream churnalists are grossly overpaid, that’s why newsprint media such as the Fin Review, the Age, Herald and the Australian are doing it so tough (apart from being such a p#sspoor product that nobody wants to buy). How could an organisation pay so much to those with so little talent? The print media business model is clearly broken.

  7. AR

    It would only be “awful timing” if facts mattered out in reality world. This was a fever swamp of the worst.
    What if the remuneration of everyone present has risen considerably more than 2.6%?

  8. Itsarort

    The irony here is that as the average punter’s real buying power diminishes, instead of buying the daily rag, he’s more likely to look for free tid bits on the internet. Talk about chopping off your nose to spite your face News Corp.

  9. Liamj

    Good job Keane & Dyer, ta particularly for detailing the revisionism from AIG & ACCI. Never again need anyone doubt for a second that they are the merest liars & chisellers, out to enrich their already over-privileged management class and bugger the workers and the national interest.

  10. Bill Hilliger

    Itsarort …yes you have it in one.

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