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The Wages Crisis in Australia

What it is and what to do about it


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AUD $60.00 gst included

The persistence of weak wages growth in Australia, at a time when the state of the economy might suggest much better outcomes for workers, has baffled policy makers.

Andrew Stewart, Jim Stanford and Tess Hardy have drawn together expert analysts from business, universities, think tanks, community organisations and trade unions to answer four pressing questions: What is the wages crisis? Why is it happening? Why does it matter? And what should we do about it?

Written in non-technical terms for a general audience, the essays in this book offer many insights into one of Australia’s most pressing economic and social issues. They highlight the key point that wage stagnation is a problem with multiple causes and dimensions. It will not fix itself, but will need decisive policy action. In their conclusion, the editors set out their own views of what that might be.

Published by University of Adelaide Press and distributed by The Federation Press


About the contributors

Part I — The problem

1. Australia, we have a problem
           Jim Stanford, Tess Hardy and Andrew Stewart

2. Charting wage stagnation in Australia
           Jim Stanford

3. Global perspectives on wage stagnation
           Stephen Kinsella and John Howe

4. What’s causing the wages slowdown?
           Tess Hardy and Andrew Stewart

Part II — Wage setting mechanisms and institutions

5. Minimum wages
           Tim Lyons

6. Gender pay equity
           Sara Charlesworth and Meg Smith

7. Collective bargaining and power
           David Peetz

8. Public sector austerity and its spill-over effects
           Troy Henderson

9. Contracting out community services, marketisation and wages
           Fiona Macdonald and Michael Pegg

10. Executive remuneration in listed companies and wage setting
           Kym Sheehan

Part III — Business structures and vulnerable workers

11. Fractured work
           Josh Bornstein

12. Wage theft and young workers
           Keelia Fitzpatrick

13. Temporary migrant workers, underpayment and predatory business models
           Iain Campbell

14. Is there a wages crisis facing skilled temporary migrants?
           Joanna Howe

Part IV — Stakeholder perspectives on causes, consequences and solutions

15. A business perspective
           Saul Eslake

16. A union perspective on the wages crisis and how to solve it
           Damian Kyloh

17. A community perspective: The human and social costs of wage stagnation
           John Falzon

18. Young Australians and the disrupted economy
           Annette Cairnduff, Kelly Fawcett and Nina Roxburgh

19. An investor perspective
           Craig Shepherd and Penny Heard

Part V — Finding solutions

20. Conclusion: Wages and inclusive growth
           Andrew Stewart, Jim Stanford and Tess Hardy

Appendix: An overview of labour regulation in Australia
           Andrew Stewart


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