Strong wages driven by higher pay in the private sector calls into question the need for a dramatic expansion of untrialled multiemployer bargaining, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Businesses are delivering the strongest rate of wages growth in a decade, which will help ease the burden of skyrocketing inflation and cost of living pressure for the 6 out of 7 workers employed by a business.
“Across the economy private sector wages are up 3.4 per cent this year compared to just 2.4 per cent for those in the public sector. Almost half of the workers employed by a business received an increase in their pay in the last quarter, those that did took home an average of 4.3 per cent more per hour.
“With wages growing strongly, we’ll have to work even harder to drive down inflation so Australians can get ahead.
“The government’s strong advocacy for higher award rates at the Fair Work Commission has helped deliver for Australians in some sectors, but strong growth for workers on enterprise agreements or in individual arrangements are the biggest drivers of faster wages growth.
“We all agree that Australians should get paid more, but the workplace relations legislation currently before the Senate isn’t a solution and it risks sending workers backwards.
“This is a reminder that the parliament, the government and the key stakeholders must focus their efforts on the sectors and workers who need help, not the businesses that already pay their workers more and deliver better conditions.
“Australians can’t afford a system that slows down this strong private sector wages growth by seeing them wait while unions, lawyers and businesses squabble over who can even be at the negotiating table before they even get to discussing conditions and wages.
“We’ve outlined a set of constructive recommendations that would help limit the harmful unintended consequences of a massively expanded multiemployer bargaining stream but preserve the things in this legislation that everyone agrees on.”