Retailers still fuming at FWC shock junior wage rate decision

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) strongly condemned the Fair Work Commission (FWC) inexplicable decision last Friday to abolish junior wage rates for 20 year old employees.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said retailers are outraged at the decision which was based on no evidence and will kill jobs for youth as well as hinder skills developments.

“This junior wage increase will severely hit retailers financially, as well as change the face of employment for 20 year olds.

“Young people are done a disservice if our system of wage regulation locks them out of employment opportunities – and it is now clear that young people will be forced to compete against older and more experienced job-seekers.

“Unfortunately, youth unemployment is at its highest level in 11 years and with the unions case to remove junior wage rates now successful, young Australians are going to find employment near impossible.

“What retailer is going to employ a young Australian without any experience in the industry, when they can employ someone a few years older with more experience for exactly the same wage? This decision will prove detrimental to both employers and employees.

“Friday’s decision was also inconsistent with previous FWC decisions, making it obvious this was a narrow review. Previous FWC decisions have held that major changes like this require expert evidence.

“The retail sector is struggling, and although the industry is just starting to show signs of improvement in terms of retail employment, this is certainly a major setback.

“The ARA is looking into all possible appeal options and will be raising this matter directly with Minister Abetz, as well as instructing its legal team to look at all options to address this poor decision.

"The ARA will also fight against the already promised claims from the union movement to move on under 20 year old pay rates,” Mr Zimmerman said.

s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

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