- The Guardian
- Issue #2043
New research from Australia Institute economist Dr Jim Stanford has confirmed that excessive corporate profits are the main driver of inflation, not wages. The research findings come in the same week Qantas announced a $1.4 billion profit, supermarket giants Woolworths revealed a $907 million profit (up 14 per cent) and Coles announced $643 million profit (up 17.1 per cent), hot on the heels of Commonwealth Bank, which recently reported a record $5.15 billion in profit (up 9 per cent). Inflation would have stayed within the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target band had companies not pumped-up prices and squeezed consumers over the past 18 months, Stanford’s research finds. The Wage Price Index revealed that workers in Australia are enduring the biggest real wage cut in history. Inflation is at 7.8 per cent while wage growth is at 3.3 per cent in the year to December 2022. Inflation is clearly outpacing wage growth. Real wages in Australia fell by 4.5 per cent in 2022, the largest fall on record. ACTU Secretary Sally McManus noted: “What we’re seeing is a greed-price spiral. Qantas has joined Coles and Woolworths, as well as the Commonwealth Bank in posting eye-watering profits. Inflation is being fed by these companies putting up prices far more than they need to. Wage growth is clearly not contributing to inflation.” Any wage rises in 2022 and early 2023 were chasing price increases and interest rate rises. Real wages are going backwards, a shocking 4.5 per cent.
The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has applauded the order by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to lift the Award wages of low-paid aged care workers by a full 15 per cent, effective from 30 June this year. ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said this is a great win for aged care workers and a further step towards genuine recognition of their true value but noted that there is still more work to do. “From our perspective, the order to pay the full 15 per cent this year not only recognises the severe undervaluation of aged care workers under the current award system, but also acknowledges the rising cost of living pressures these workers continue to face, whilst receiving chronically low wages.” The ANMF is now calling on the Federal Government to fund the full 15 per cent as ordered by the FWC to urgently improve the pay and conditions of workers in the aged care industry – one of its key election commitments.
PARASITE OF THE WEEK: After having its plans for a massive overdevelopment at Sydney’s Little Bay rejected by the planning authority and local council, construction company Meriton went straight to its connections in the Perrottet government. Said Meriton managing director Harry Triguboff, net worth $13.5 billion: “They can go to hell. They want production, they have to make sure I don’t go broke.”