Letter to Canberra Times – published 15th May
We always have to be wary of statistics but the case for Keating’s work place agreements versus Howard’s work choices is clear. Keating’s policy of workers bargaining with employers over wage gains for productivity improvements created a boost for productivity while Howard’s work choices has lead to lower productivity. The statistics prove it. Keating introduced work place agreements in 1993 and for the following years until they were repealed the nation enjoyed substantial boosts in productivity. Immediately Howard started to talk about Work Choices in 2004 productivity started dropping until now the nation is going backward in terms of productivity.
The reason is obvious. Productivity is measured by the output per hour worked. Employers now have the upper hand with respect to bargaining and because they can increase profits by reducing wages and conditions they will tend to forget about productivity as the way to increase profits. It is too easy to reduce wages while it is hard to get productivity gains.