War on wages: Australians are working harder and going backwards

Sep 21st, 2017

When Sahar Khalili started work as a casual pharmacist eight years ago, she was paid $35 an hour. Over the years that has fallen to as low as $30 while her rent has more than doubled.

The 30-year-old tried short bursts of locum work to try to balance the equation, but eight years after graduating her pay had not kept pace with inflation.

"At the end of the day it also makes you feel that you are not valued by the pharmacy owner," she says.

Frustrated with the stagnating pay and increasing workload involving sales tasks unrelated to her pharmacy training and without any extra compensation, Khalili changed careers and now works in health IT. She still does pharmacy locum work on the side.

It is a tale that will resonate for many workers.

Most Australians have not had a pay rise in real terms in years in the face of an assault on wages which has policy makers, unions and business groups worried.

The typical Australian family takes home less today than it did in 2009, according to the latest Household Income and Labour Dynamics survey released this week.

SMH Anna Patty 5/08/2017

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