Retailers say Fair Work wage rise decision will cost SME jobs
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has slammed Fair Work Australia's (FWA) ruling today to increase the minimum wage by over $19 per week as thoughtless, "one size fits all" decision making which will have a disastrous impact on the retail sector.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said FWA's blanket decision lumped retailers in with other award-reliant sectors and "shows a total disregard for the bleak trading conditions of Australia's largest employer and will result in job cuts".
"Instead of paying heed to the already tough trading conditions specific to the sector, retailers will feel the biggest impact of the wage increase with the shop assistant rate increasing by over $21 per week," Mr Zimmerman said.
"Small to medium businesses will be hit the hardest. Many of the bigger companies are protected from the rise due to the EBAs they have in place. Meanwhile, the smaller players are facing the same struggles as Australian workers with interest rate increases, more taxes, increased utility bills and a higher cost of living.
"Many will simply have to close their doors.
"This decision is disastrous for retailers and it's unreasonable to expect them to pay increased wage bills while the sector struggles to post any significant growth and when retailers are already facing wage increases as of July 1 with the second transition to the Modern Award," Mr Zimmerman said.
"The double increase will give retailers no choice but to shed staff, especially since retail trade figures have shown little growth and any year -on-year boost in sales is still well below the rate of inflation.
"FWA's decision has disregarded the fact that we are operating in a two speed economy, with retailers traveling in the slowest gear and pitted up against the booming mining sector," Mr Zimmerman said.
The ARA represents Australia's $240billion retail sector which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA promotes and protects more than 5000 independent and national retailers throughout Australia, Mr Zimmerman said.