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
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
6. Gender pay equity
Sara Charlesworth and Meg Smith
7. Collective bargaining and power
8. Public sector austerity and its spill-over effects
9. Contracting out community services, marketisation and wages
Fiona Macdonald and Michael Pegg
10. Executive remuneration in listed companies and wage setting
Part III — Business structures and vulnerable workers
11. Fractured work
12. Wage theft and young workers
13. Temporary migrant workers, underpayment and predatory business models
14. Is there a wages crisis facing skilled temporary migrants?
Part IV — Stakeholder perspectives on causes, consequences and solutions
15. A business perspective
16. A union perspective on the wages crisis and how to solve it
17. A community perspective: The human and social costs of wage stagnation
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