Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Reveals Weekly Income in Decline
Release date: 5/06/2014
Weekly income is on the decline for the first time since 2008.
NEWS.COM, 5 June 2014
New wage data from Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the median weekly earning for Australians was $950 in August 2013, with incomes dropping two per cent from 2012 when inflation is taken into account.
Between 2011 and 2012, median weekly earnings for Australians in their main job jumped six per cent — one of the largest recorded wage increases since 1990.
The data also reveals more issues for Australian workers on top of declining incomes — casualisation of the workforce means more than a quarter of employees are not entitled to sick leave, carers leave and paid holidays.
According to ABS Director of Labour Force and Supplementary Surveys, Manpreet Singh, union members are more likely to have access to benefits.
“Of employees without paid leave entitlements in their main job, (only) six per cent were trade union members,” he said.
But union membership is rapidly declining, with 2013 recording the lowest unionised workforce in the 22-year history of the data. Just 17 per cent of the workforce are members of unions, dropping by 819,200 since 1990. The workforce has grown more than 3.5 million in that time.
The decline has been greatest among younger Australians, the number of unionised 15 to 19 year olds is down 72 per cent since 1990. The fall among 20-to-24s is 63 per cent.
Tony Sheldon, secretary of the Transport Workers Union, was concerned about the decline among young Australians who he said were more vulnerable and at risk of being employed casually.
But he said the data also revealed the benefits of union membership — union members were more likely to work full time and receive a better wage.
“We should be extending these benefits to everyone, not just union members,” he said.
“The impact on wages shows it is more important than ever to have a modern awards system.”
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