If elected, the Labor government intends to hold an employment summit to encourage discussions between unions and employer groups on key issues.
“I will convene a full employment summit that brings unions and business together to talk about how we get wages moving, how we get business going, grow the economy in a way that the economy works for people, just not the other way around,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told ABC’s 7:30.
He voiced Labor’s support for effective enterprise bargaining “so productivity drives those wages and profit increases at the same time.”
“I believe very firmly that people who are on the minimum wage, which is just $20.33, shouldn’t fall further behind,” Mr Albanese explained.
Another aim of Labor’s proposed employment summit is to discuss improvements in women’s workforce participation. One of the party’s major campaign promises have been policies around childcare.
“Women workers are underutilised, undervalued, at the moment. Australia has fallen to 70th in the world for economic participation and opportunity of women,” Mr Albanese said.
In the past few months, wage increases have been a major point of contention between unions and employer groups as the Fair Work Commission reviews a possible 5 per cent increase in the minimum wage, as submitted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
For Australian workers, it’s a move intended to have wages in line with inflation that is currently at the highest level in two decades. For employers, especially small businesses still bouncing back from lockdowns, there are concerns this rise in costs will affect their ability to keep the doors open.
When questioned on Labor’s specific spending plans, Mr Albanese said their proposed spending focuses on “productivity-boosting infrastructure that grows the economy.”
“We will inherit $1 trillion of debt, that is why we are being very careful about our spending commitment and making sure they’re prioritised to things like making more things here, Powering Australia, child care, better infrastructure and the NBN.”