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Issue #1791      August 23, 2017

Exploitation Updates

Wage rises fell to a near-record low of 2.7% a year in private sector agreements approved in the March quarter and a record low of 2.4% in public sector deals, according to the Department of Employment. The private sector increase is the lowest since the early days of formal enterprise bargaining in the December quarter of 1991, when just four registered agreements recorded an average annualised wage increase of 2.3%. It is down from 3% in the December quarter. The two largest private sector deals, covering almost 20,000 private school teachers and support workers across NSW and the ACT, provided pay rises of 2.5% a year, while another NSW-wide private school deal provided the same rise to almost 4,000 teachers. The low private sector increase is partially explained by a drop-off in construction agreements (from about 800 a quarter to about 200) while a stand-off continues between employers and the CFMEU over code compliance. The public sector increase is well below the previous low of 2.6% in March last year and March 1994, and a big drop from the 3.2% recorded in the December quarter. The largest public sector deal, for NSW TAFE, provided a 2.4% average increase to 9,500 employees. Overall, across the public and private sectors, wages increased by 2.7%, down from 3.1% in the December quarter.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has welcomed calls for a Senate inquiry into government IT, but warned it must seek real answers and not become an excuse for public service bashing or scapegoating. CPSU assistant national secretary Michael Tull said: “An inquiry is essential. The government spent around $10 billion on IT this year, up more than $3 billion last year, yet APS staff and clients are still experiencing huge problems. It is crucial that the inquiry is full and frank. Public sector staff are struggling to deliver good outcomes for the public in an environment dominated by outsourced IT planning and delivery. If anyone thinks that public sector IT problems can be fixed by blaming a few public sector workers and then giving even more contracts to the big IT companies, they haven’t been paying attention.”

Multinational mining giant Glencore has posted a massive half yearly profit as it locks out 190 miners in Oaky North, Queensland, for a further 11 days. “Glencore is the poster child for corporate greed and trickle-down economics in Australia today,” Tony Maher, CFMEU Mining Division national president said. “They have just reported a 53 percent increase in their revenue from coal. At the same time, they are trying to strip away rights and conditions from the very workers whose labour has delivered surging earnings to them.” The latest Oaky North lockout brings the total number of days locked out in the last three months to 36. The company also attempted to stop the workers from a peaceful and legal picket at the front gates of the mine, forcing them to the Magistrates Court to have the picket line reinstated. Glencore has stripped away 50 percent of working conditions from a version of an agreement that 99 percent of the Oaky North mine’s workforce previously voted down in a ballot called by the company.

Next article – Region Briefs

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