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Incomes better but still a long way to go – CTU 2020 work survey results

The Council of Trade Unions Together 2020 work survey results released today show more people are reporting that their income kept up with their cost of living in 2019 than previously, but there are still significant improvements needed.

The survey was completed by nearly 900 union and non-union working people and was conducted between the 2nd and the 5th of January.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff says the results reflect the changes in policy and economic settings. “The more positive income and employment statistics of 2019 are translating into people feeling better off than they did a year ago, but right now it seems too many working people are still doing it tough, struggling to make ends meet and feeling undervalued at work.

“The Government’s reinstatement of work rights that had been eroded by their predecessors has certainly contributed to giving people the ability to get a better deal at work. However, this is a fragile gain that needs to be locked in and strengthened through the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements.

“The status quo of individual and single employer bargaining just isn’t capable of delivering fair outcomes. I think you can see that in the fact that there are still many people who feel like they are falling behind and in the areas of work that haven’t improved such as job security and workload.

“As with last year, the most commonly reported cost of living issues concern the cost of basics, particularly housing. The impact of the increased cost of renting has come through particularly strongly in comments this year. ”

The 2020 survey also focused on workplace culture with questions about bullying, management effectiveness, and people’s comfort in raising health and safety issues.

Wagstaff says the results are concerning. “Workplace culture is a core reflection of management capability, and less than a quarter of people rate their management as better than average. That’s also showing up in their reporting of unacceptably high levels of workplace bullying.

“We’re also very concerned about the number of people who don’t feel able to report health and safety issues to their managers. We’ve had one in five people report that they don’t feel able to raise this issue. Safety at work is such a fundamental right that figure should be zero.

“Additionally, having 40% of the workforce concerned about their jobs being threatened by technology shows there is an urgent need to address the rapid changes happening to work and find ways to make sure people aren’t left behind.”


An overview of the full 2020 survey results is available here.

The 2019 survey results are available here.