UnionsWA has commented on new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which shows that the number of working West Australians paid under awards - around 170,000 – is growing but with many now receiving less hours of work and pay that two years ago.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“This new data from the ABS shows that industrial awards are still important, setting the pay and conditions for more than 170,000 working West Australians, but more and more low paid Award workers are being left with fewer hours of work and lower take-home pay.
“Those employees that rely on awards were paid on average 6% less in 2016 compared with 2014 – this is the largest fall in income for award employees of any state in Australia.
“This fall in award income is largely the result of a fall in hours of work, down from a weekly average of 29 hours in 2014 to 25.4 hours in 2016.
“The campaign by employers, aided by Liberal-National Governments, to cut penalty rates pay for the most vulnerable, would only make this situation worse.
“The number of non-managerial working West Australians that have their pay and conditions set under Federal or WA awards has increased to 172,500.
“The proportion of all non-managerial employees in WA who rely on awards for their pay has risen over the past two years from 14.6% to 16.4% in 2016.
"As the WA economy has gone into free-fall, it has been the most vulnerable working West Australians who have borne the brunt of poor economic management of the Barnett Government.
“Employees in WA on collective agreements are much more likely than Award employees to have greater protection in terms of pay and hours of work.
“Between 2014 and 2016, employees on collective agreements experienced a 13.8% increase in weekly pay to $1,461.
“However, the number of working West Australians on collective agreements has fallen, down from 469,100 in 2014 to 409,800 in 2016.
“Over the past year, we have seen aggressive action by employers to cancel collective agreements and force employees onto awards.
“At the same time, employer groups have called for national and WA industrial commissions to freeze pay or approve below inflation wage increases.
“The end of the resources boom in WA, and the failure of the WA Government to act to diversify our economy, has left many working West Australians vulnerable.”
Source from the ABS 6306.0 - Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2016 using data for non-managerial employees is available here.