A survey of employers by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) shows that around 60% of employers will push for a wage freeze or only a modest increase in wages. From The AFR:
The firm’s bargaining survey of about 60 key clients, including large private sector companies across construction, infrastructure, mining, retail and healthcare industries, found that 60 per cent would look at “wage freezes or only nominal wage increases”…
HSF industrial relations partner, Rohan Doyle, said employers were still responding to an environment of flat wages.
“Competitors aren’t lifting wages and there’s no need or desire for others to do so – and you obviously don’t want to be out of step with the market on those things because you’re at a competitive disadvantage”…
Employer sentiments on wage restraint also align with observations from Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus, who disagreed on Sunday with Dr Lowe’s statements of a wage recovery.
“We haven’t seen that change yet,” she told ABC’s Insiders. “And if there is a change, it must be a very slight one. We are not seeing that in bargaining nor on the ground.”
So much for the hoped recovery in wages growth. Instead, it looks like Australian employee compensation – which has already fallen by 4.2% in real terms since March 2012, despite solid rises in labour productivity – will remain stuck in the gutter: