Super funds lock in steady pay rises

The Finance Sector Union has managed to secure annual wage increases of up to 3.5 per cent for staff across AustralianSuper, HESTA and Hostplus, as average wage growth has been forecast to decline.

Employees at AustralianSuper are set to see a 14 per cent raise over the next four years, as confirmed by the fund, but it declined to comment. 

The FSU also reported HESTA agreed to a 12 per cent increase over four years while Hostplus confirmed it has signed up to a 10.5 per cent increase over three years. 

A spokesperson for Hostplus stated the fund had “recently updated its enterprise agreement”, which has been effective July last year to the end of June next year. The Fair Work Commission had approved the update. 

“As well as delivering for its staff a market competitive 3.5 per cent salary increase [year-on-year] for the life of the agreement, it also provides for other employer-of-choice benefits such as materially increased caregiver, parental, compassionate and domestic violence leave entitlements in addition to paid community service leave,” the spokesperson said. 

“We routinely benchmark and monitor our compensation arrangements relative to the market.”

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The union also cited a 7.2 per cent increase over three years for staff at Media Super, but a spokesperson for the fund stated they couldn’t comment as it is still negotiating its enterprise agreement.

The raises diverge from the national outlook for wages, after ABS data recorded annual wage growth slowing to 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, before the COVID-19 crisis hit. Wages had grown at 0.5 per cent in the first three months of the year. 

The RBA indicated in its last monetary policy statement that wage growth is expected to decrease further over the next 12 months, with many businesses and employees expected to agree to wage freezes, reduced bonuses and to a lesser extent, hourly wage cuts. 

But the Reserve Bank expects wages growth to gradually pick up next year, although its pace will depend on whether there are catch-up increases after 2020 and the level of spare capacity in the labour market. 

The FSU also mentioned wins at the banks, with NAB agreeing to a two 3 per cent raises over the next two years and Bendigo Bank giving a 9 per cent increase over three years. 

A NAB spokesperson said the bank had delivered the first 3 per cent increase recently for mostly frontline employees (group 1 and 2) and backdated it to 9 January. 

“We have also committed to giving [group] 1 and 2 employees an additional 3 per cent pay rise in January 2021,” the spokesperson said. 

Julia Angrisano, national secretary of the Finance Sector Union said the salary outcomes have “resulted in a greater pay parity across the sector”. 

“Salary increases secured across the financial services sector reflect the hard work and contribution made by employees across banking, insurance and super funds,” Ms Angrisano said. 

“Rewarding employees for the important contribution that they make towards the positive outcomes for customers and members means that employees are properly and fairly remunerated. Our negotiations with Hostplus is an example of this.”

Ms Angrisano added that the union does not have any concerns about underpayments, after it secured “millions” in backpay over the last 12 months for members. 

Westpac recently copped an $8 million underpayment bill, admitting it had fallen prone to a calculation error on employees’ long service leave. 

NAB also indicated in June that it is undertaking an investigation after it found a payroll issue resulting in staff being underpaid. 

The union had reported the bank’s workers were concerned they hadn’t received their full pay in “years”.

Super funds lock in steady pay rises
steady pay rises
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