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Profits rise

category indonesia / philippines / australia | workplace struggles | other libertarian press author Saturday October 29, 2005 09:45author by Takver Report this post to the editors

Profits rise and rise while wages drop as a proportion of GDP

Thursday October 20, 2005 Taken from melbourne Indymedia

I find reading the Business pages can be very informative, like in the article below by Josh Gordon published in The Age of October 19, 2005. Rather than giving me new information, it confirmed what I thought was happening. There are a lot of greedy bastards, and John Howard is doing everything to ensure the game works solidly in their favour, including blatant lieing about wages.

Of course, once legitimate industrial dissent is stifled, and conditions of employment and wages worsen, we are going to see more hidden resistance by workers. When you feel hard done by, little pieces of resistance will occur: petty theft of stationary and equipment; theft of working time; throwing a spanner in the works to slow production; deliberate foul ups; and on and on. Most resistance will be haphazard by individuals and hard to track down and pin to a cause. Some will occur on an informal, but organised basis: sickies taken by several people at a crucial time, co-ordinated foul ups that cost the boss money and give the workers a little breathing space.

When you take away avenues for legitimate negotiation and remove basic working conditions established over a period of 100 years, then you encourage workers to resort to hidden and underground avenues of survival and revenge. In the great strikes of the 1890s arson was used on more than one occasion as an industrial weapon by individuals. I do not know if arson will occur in the current climate, and if it does, it will almost certainly be the work of individuals without popular sanction, pushed beyond their limits. If the proposed Industrial reforms are pushed through I reckon minor incidents of sabotage will be on the increase. It just might be a bit hard to keep accurate statistics of it.

At the moment John Howard is definitely aware of the community concern by the way of protests. But he is still ideologically driven. His attendance at Woollongong early this week for a business lunch stimulated a 500 strong protest which included nurses, firefighters, teachers and police - all protesting angrily at his proposed workplace changes.

Rather than meet with the workers of Woollongong Howard told the Business lunch Speaking inside the lunch, «Well I haven’t left their wages alone, I’ve in fact presided over the biggest real wage increase of a sustainable basis this country’s had since World War II.»

But of course, this is just another lie, like the Children Overboard, and the necessity to trade in civil liberties for constant surveillance. The wage share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the June quarter was near a record low of 53.2 per cent, while company profits reached a record of 27.4 per cent of GDP.

On a rainy Wednesday night with minimal notice 100 people turned up to disrupt John Howards dinner at the Melbourne Museum.

Enough from me, here is the rebuttal of one of John Howard’s lies by economics correspondent, Josh Gordon.


Key Points

* Company profits reached a record 27.4 percent of GDP in the June quarter this year.

* Prime Minister John Howard claims he has presided over the biggest real wage increase in Australia for decades.

*Initially most of the benefits will flow to companies.

The record slice of economic prosperity enjoyed by Australian companies could be set to expand if the Government’s controversial industrial relations overhaul tamps down wages, economists say.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics show that company profits reached a record 27.4 per cent of gross domestic product in the June quarter this year, up from just 22.6 per cent in the mid-1990s.

At the same time, workers’ share of the economy has shrunk.

After rising as high as 61 per cent of GDP in the early 1980s, the wage share was at a near record low of 53.2 per cent in the June quarter.

The Government has been arguing that the industrial relations package is necessary to cut unemployment, but it suggests this will occur through a resulting productivity surge rather than lower wages.

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday said he had presided over the biggest real wage increase in Australia for decades.

«People follow me around Australia from time to time and hold up placards saying, ‘Don’t cut my wages John, leave my wages alone’,» Mr Howard said. «Well I haven’t left their wages alone, I’ve in fact presided over the biggest real wage increase of a sustainable basis this country’s had since World War II»

HSBC chief economist John Edwards said he couldn’t see how the industrial relations changes would lead to a major increase in productivity. He said the package would only cut unemployment further if it resulted in lower minimum wages.

«If real wages, particularly those down the bottom, decline over time then you would expect profits to be higher,» Dr Edwards said.

«I think that is probably the intended impact, although the Government won’t say it.

«I don’t think they’ll have a major impact but these changes are far more likely to increase employment by cutting real wages rather than any increase in productivity.»

Access Economic director Chris Richardson said the changes could lead to higher productivity and a bigger «economic pie», although initially most of the benefits would flow to companies.

«Initially the larger economic pie would tend to go towards business,» Mr Richardson said.

«If the unemployment rate falls, the wages share could rise again. But over a long period of time, if the measures were to increase total wealth, people would get more income from savings rather than in their hands: this would mean a bigger profit share.»

Suggesting that cracks could be forming in the labour market, a survey by National Australia Bank found business confidence and conditions edged down over the three months to September.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said higher oil prices and sluggish trading conditions had made companies less willing to take on new workers.


1. SMH - Angry workers dish up protest for PM’s lunch, October 18, 2005 - 2:05PM

2. The Age Business Section - In the Red Corner ... lower wages, October 19, 2005 (reproduced above)

3. Also of interest is The Age Business Section - ‘Howard’s world vision on workplace justifications looks a little skewed’. October 19, 2005. By Josh Gordon with a table showing how our workers compare on an international basis in Unemployment and Basic wage.

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