Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Wage growth slowest for decades

By Dane Letcher

Wage growth was at the slowest pace on record for 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Using their Wage Price Index (WPI) the ABS found that hourly rates scarcely rose by 0.5% in the last quarter of 2015. In the September quarter wages rose by only 0.6%. Annual wage growth was only 2.2%, the lowest since WPI records were first introduced in1997.

The Australian economy has been experiencing low growth following the end of the mining boom. This one sided boom saw big mining corporations reap huge profits while most ordinary people struggled to make ends meet. The end of this boom will see working class living conditions go even further backwards as jobs are cut.

Unemployment is already on the rise at nearly 6%. Youth unemployment is almost double that. Higher unemployment will further increase the competition amongst workers for the few available jobs and this will serve to push down real wage growth even more.

Only socialist policies – like sharing out the work with no loss in pay, and a public works program to build the infrastructure we need – will be able to deal with the jobs and wages problems that Australia faces.