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Retail

Australian Retailers Fear 3.3% Wage Increase Will Impact Industry Growth

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has announced that it is 'extremely concerned' that the national minimum wage increase of 3.3% will ‘stifle jobs growth within the retail sector’.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced the national minimum wage will increase to AUS $694.90 (€465.71) per week, or AUS $18.29 (€12.26) per hour from 1 July 2017. This is an increase of AUS $22.20 (€14.88) per week and an increase of 59 cents (€0.40) per hour.

ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman said Australian retailers are already experiencing a "complex operating environment" and that the increase will greatly hinder the growth and stability of the industry.

“Today’s minimum wage increase of 3.3% will suppress the benefits achieved by the penalty rates reduction, negatively affecting increased trading hours for retailers and further delaying employment growth across the sector,” he said.

“With the inherent weakness in today’s economic climate, along with tax increases about to hit consumers, this upsetting increase will strongly impede on employment growth within the industry.”

Weak Economic Conditions

ARA believes that current economic uncertainties, historically low inflation, and the rising costs for retailers will combine to create real concerns for retail growth across the country.

The ARA proposed a minimum wage increase of 1.2%, which it believes would have the best way to ‘preserve employment within the retail sector’.

The group said that it is disappointed that the FWC ‘did not take into account the weak economic trading conditions when making their decision’.

“Our members are constantly experiencing significant cost pressures through international competition and advances in technology therefore we believe this wage increase is unfavourable for all businesses operating in the retail sector,” added Zimmerman.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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