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New IR Laws Reducing Take-Home Pay, say ACTU

September 28 2006 - Analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data by the ACTU appears to show that employees' that average earnings have failed to keep pace with inflation for the first time in 5 years.

According to ACTU Secretary Greg Combet:

"Many working families are struggling to keep their heads above water and the last thing they can afford is a drop in their take home pay as a result of the new IR laws.

"Average earnings in the year to June 2006 dropped in real terms by 1% - that is, working Australians have experienced a fall in average weekly earnings of $11 a week as a result of downward pressure on wages and rising living costs.

"This is the first big drop in average earnings since the introduction of the GST. If we discount the effect of the GST on living costs, this is the first time that average earnings have declined in real terms for ten years.

"The historically low average earnings are caused by the Federal Government's 18 month freeze on pay rises for award wage workers as part of its new IR laws, and a fall 0in overtime, penalty rate and bonus payments to workers under the laws.

"The Government's own workplace agency (the OEA) has admitted that two thirds (63%) of AWAs registered under the new laws scrap penalty rates, a third cut overtime pay, half get rid of shift allowances and another third do away with public holiday payments.

"At the same time as workers are facing a fall in their take-home pay, the cost of living is up with the increase in CPI for the June quarter up by 1.6% - the biggest increase for a decade, excluding the GST.

"No wonder working families are struggling to make ends meet," said Mr Combet.



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