Prices and Incomes Accord

The Prices and Incomes Accord was an agreement between the ACTU and the ALP government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating. The basic agreement held that unions agreed to restrict wage demands and, in turn, the government pledged to minimise inflation, take action on the social wage, and increase spending on education as well as welfare.

One account of The Accord reports that it "secured for all workers a 4.3% pay rise (September 1983), a 4.1% pay rise (April 1984), and a deferred 2.6% pay rise over the initial 3-year period, improvements in family payments and child care, and the introduction of Medicare. Unemployment also fell from over 10% (in the 2nd quarter of 1983) to just under 8%. Other achievements won by the Accord during its first three years included:

• The establishment of the Economic Planning Advisory council.

• The introduction of the Tripartite Australian manufacturing council, together with other industry councils.>

• The introduction of a National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.

• Increases in family income supplements for low-income families.

• Targeted tax cuts for low-income and middle-income workers.

• The introduction of various tax avoidance measures.

• Increased pensions and unemployment benefits.

• The fastest employment and economic growth in the OECD.

• The introduction of various steel and vehicle industry plans.

• Pay rises of 3.8% (November 1985) and 2.3% (1 July 1986).

• The introduction of 3% award superannuation."

Although the Accord was widely accepted in the labour movement and the WFF's 1985 Federal Council endorsed the Accord by a vote of 22 to 2, it would also be controversial among many trade unionists who felt the rank-and-file would be less involved in pushing and mobilising during industrial disputes.