ARTIO sees bottom of wage rise cycle

Trend likely to be up as Anderson also points to ABS employment figures as a sign

ARTIO sees bottom of wage rise cycle
Anderson says the trend is apparent


There are signs the rate of wage increases in enterprise agreements negotiated in the road transport industry may have bottomed out according to the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO).

Speaking in his capacity of ARTIO secretary and treasurer, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson says a recent ARTIO review of hundreds of enterprise agreements lodged in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the road transport industry since the second half of 2011 show a slight uptick in the rate of wages growth in 2017 to date, compared with 2016.

"The apparent plateauing of wage growth follows a steady decline in the rate of wages growth each year in the five years to 2016," Anderson says.

"While ARTIO acknowledges that this analysis is not definitive because of the small number of enterprise agreements concluded in the industry in any given year, it would appear a trend is apparent."

He notes enterprise agreements may also include variations related to superannuation and other conditions, which can be used as a trade-off for wage increases, affecting overall remuneration and conditions.

"However, because wages are overwhelmingly important in determining total remuneration, this gives credibility to ARTIO’s view that a turnaround in the rate of wages growth appears to be underway," Anderson says.

Other, more broadly based employment data, suggests a turnaround in the labour market is underway.

"Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show employment growth in Australia over the past year is at its highest level for 17 years," Anderson says.

"For transport operators, this may trigger resignations to pursue better work opportunities elsewhere in sectors like building and construction, further triggering demands for higher wage increases.

"Demand for truck drivers is likely to grow in the civil contracting sector with predicted strong growth in activity related to major infrastructure projects, especially along the eastern seaboard."

Anderson says ARTIO has provided its analysis to members of its branches because it may assist when remuneration and conditions are reviewed at the company level.


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