WAGE INCREASE 'DEVASTATING' FOR AUSSIE RETAILERS, SAYS ARA

WAGE INCREASE 'DEVASTATING' FOR AUSSIE RETAILERS, SAYS ARA
THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says it is extremely concerned by the national minimum wage increase of 3.3 per cent announced today by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The ARA is concerned the increased margin will stifle jobs growth within the retail sector and be extremely harmful to the growth and stability of the industry.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says retailers are already facing a complex operating environment, and this increase will offset benefits via the reduction of penalty rates.

"Today's Minimum Wage increase of 3.3 per cent will supress the benefits achieved by the penalty rates reduction, negatively affecting increased trading hours for retailers and further delaying employment growth across the sector," says Zimmerman.

"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."

According to the ARA, given current economic uncertainties and historically low inflation along with rising costs for retailers, the rise poses real concerns for retail growth across Australia.

The ARA believes its proposed Minimum Wage increase of 1.2 per cent would have been the best way to preserve employment within the retail sector.

The association says it is disappointed that the Fair Work Commission did not consider 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," Zimmerman said.

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