Retailers are staggering under the added burden of a recent decision by Fair Work Australia (FWA) to increase the minimum wage by $26 per week, according to peak industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
The ARA said retailers were ‘reeling’ at the resulting ‘double whammy’ on wages, with the Modern Award wage increases already coming into effect from 1 July.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman described FWA’s move as an “irresponsible decision that ignores both retail wage bill pressures and current poor trading conditions impacting retailers’ bottom line.”
“This is an unrealistic and unreasonable increase on wage bills for award-reliant industries and it will cost jobs at a time when retailers are cutting staff hours to try and keep their doors open during soft trading conditions.
“The minimum wage decision is complicated by the fact that retailers already face higher labour costs from 1 July due to the commencement of the Modern Award transitional arrangements.
“Let’s not forget small and medium employers who will have to pay this unreasonable minimum wage rise are dealing with the same struggles as Australian workers, including six interest rate rises since October, a lack of access to finance and dampened consumer confidence.”
“Fair Work Australia’s decision has disregarded the ‘here and now’ for small business and will ultimately cost jobs,” Zimmerman said.