Statement - 21 October 2011 - by Occupy Workplaces via Facebook It might surprise some that despite a global economy in the most profound and sustained crisis since the Great Depression, that the top layer of bosses and executives in Australia are still raking it in. During this recent period of recovery in Australia, profits have soared by 27.5% to a record share of the national economy. You would think that after the hardship and tax-payer funded pump priming, that maybe ordinary people would be getting a bigger piece of these Super Profits? Well, no. Wages' share is now the lowest it's been since 1964! And despite all the political rhetoric about supporting 'working families', a person living on the minimum wage still scrapes by on just over $30k a year ($15/hr). Over the past year executive pay rose by 17.2%, while the average wage of a full-time worker rose by just 5.2%. And basic living expenses are soaring through the roof!
Many workers lost their jobs and large chunks of their compulsory superannuation contributions as a result of the latest crisis in capitalism—yet the CEOs continue to have the gall to syphon off $10 million PLUS salaries. And that's before all the perks we don't hear about. A typical CEO in Australia now takes home almost 100 times that of the average worker! And what do they really do to make this much money?? And more importantly, where does all this money come from? At the end of the day, the answer is that it comes from us.
Is the system working for us, the 99%, or is it all about the profits of that tiny minority? We sometimes put up with these injustices because we think there is no alternative, but now we see all over the world that the 99% are gaining in confidence and shaking things up.
Are you content to go to work making these obscene profits for your managers, or would you rather more time to spend with your family and friends, and doing productive things to help your community? With the squeeze that's on us, many of us don't get to even ask ourselves the question. When you look at the boom and slump economic model that we work within, it is apparent that it's only ever the wealthy that ever really benefit from the periods of strong economic growth. We get modest pay increases that barely keep up with inflation, and far from economic development making our lives better, Australians now work the longest hours amongst all the OECD countries—up to 7 hours of often unpaid overtime.
Over the previous decades we've seen our public services sold off and run into the ground. It's simply not true to say that we have a public healthcare or education system. Everything is being run for profit, and workers everywhere are being encouraged to work harder for less. There never seems to be the money in the system for a decent maternity leave scheme or doing something about the catastrophic climate change that is fast approaching. Yet there is always money for these massive CEO salaries, and to fund the policies that devastate worker both here and overseas—the racist NT Intervention, mandatory detention, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And when the system we live in goes into crisis it's ordinary workers and the poor, the 99%, who are being asked to pick up the bill for the crisis. As in the US, Australia's corporate elites are unaccountable and out of control. Our democracy is paltry at best—both parties serve the interests of this 1% before the rest of us. It's time for us to something about it.