Politics

BHP wage increases are a “fantasy”

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy union says it doesn’t believe undertakings from corporate Australia to use savings from the government’s company tax cuts to improve the wages of workers.

Australia’s biggest employers including BHP, Woolworths, Wesfarmers and QANTAS have pledged to invest in the Australian economy if the $65 billion dollar corporate tax cuts are approved.

The CFMEU’s Gary Woods says the corporate bodies will be the ones who benefit from the cuts and that they can’t be held to their promises.

“They’re telling us that it will increase wages but we don’t believe that they will, we believe that it will just go into the [pockets] of the shareholders,” he said.

“There’s no evidence or requirement for it to go to the workers [in] the way it’s set out.”

On Wednesday, the Business Council of Australia sent a letter signed by 10 chief executives to Senators claiming they will employ more people and increase wages if the reforms are passed.

“If the Senate passes this important legislation we, as some of the nation’s largest employers, commit to invest more in Australia which will lead to employing more Australians and therefore stronger wage growth as the tax cut takes effect,” the letter read.

“We believe that a reduction in the corporate tax rate, as proposed through the government’s enterprise tax plan, is urgent and vital to keep Australia competitive.”

But secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, urged senators to reject the corporate tax cuts in a letter to the opposition today.

“Arguments from big businesses and the BCA that these cuts will magically trickle down to benefit workers are a fantasy,” she wrote.

“They are a con.”

“We urge you to consider that while business profits are booming, workers’ wage growth has flat-lined, there is no evidence that they will increase wages.”

“These tax cuts will transfer wealth from working people to CEO bonuses.”

“These cuts will take money that should be going to schools and hospitals, and pump it into the hands of wealthy shareholders, the majority of whom do not live in Australia,” Ms McManus concluded.

“In critical times we actually should be using ensuring that day to day people have got money in their pockets to spend in the communities,” says the CFMEU’s Gary Woods.

“The big companies…they’re not even paying tax in Australia,” he says.

BHP was contacted for comment.

You can hear more of the interview with the CFMEU’s Gary Woods here:

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