From the ABC: Profits up, wages flat: why workers aren’t sharing in the good times

A record 94 per cent of reporting companies produced a profit this year.

Key points:

  • Two-thirds of companies have raised dividends relative to a year ago
  • 94 per cent of companies listed on the ASX reported a profit in the February results season, the highest rate since the GFC
  • Wage growth continues near historic lows of 2 per cent a year

That is the highest number since the global financial crisis. But the rewards are not going to workers.

Instead, company executives are pocketing higher bonuses, and investors are reaping fatter dividends and other financial rewards.


I’ll tell you why workers aren’t getting pay rises. Because they won’t join and support their unions, that’s why. Why is it so hard to understand that joining forces with your fellow workers gets results? All the professionals, including the employers, have their unions – the Law Society for lawyers, the AMA for doctors, the CAI for employers, the MTA for metal industries, the Company Directors Association for guess who. If they belong, why won’t you?

Every other human endeavour, with the exception of some of the arts (e.g. painting, literature) requires teamwork. The employers, the Howard and the present right wing governments, have very cleverly persuaded employees that unions are bad and employers will treat workers fairly.

Well, it’s not true, is it? The evidence is totally clear. Upper management have been paying themselves handsomely, with HUGE bonuses, for the past ten years. Business conditions have been fantastic for the past 20 years. Yet it is never time for a decent pay increase for employees. Every ACTU application for safety net minimum wage increases is opposed by the employer groups (the employers’ unions!!)

Why won’t people belong to unions? First, they are cowards. They are so scared of being asked to strike that they run away. I should know: I was the union delegate and I saw this first hand.

Second, they don’t want to pay the union dues. First question I used to be asked, even in the days before the internet, was, “What’s it going to cost me?”They couldn’t see that just one pay increase won for them by the union would recoup their union fees for years! Stupid.

Just as no-one believes they should have to pay for movies or music any more, they want the union to do things for them for no cost. I spit. The cost is borne by the few who do belong and who do pay for their music.

Third, they are ignorant and stupid. They don’t know their rights, they don’t know what unions do, they don’t know how to deal with issues like this. And they can’t be bothered finding out.

For crying out loud, if you want pay increases and workplace justice, join your union!!


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