Last Wednesday the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down its Annual Wage Review. Due to the unprecedented economic pressure imposed on the business community, along with the fact that retail was struggling pre-COVID, the NRA argued strongly that a sensible increase of 3.1 per cent would help workers manage the impact of the cost of living increases without contributing further to inflation or business closures.
It was disappointing, to say the least, to see that FWC decided to raise the national minimum wage by 5.2 per cent, and Modern Awards by 4.6 per cent. There is logic to the notion that providing a wage increase to low-paid workers provides them with more disposable income to spend across the economy. However, for that premise to be correct, workers need to be in a job to begin with.
The practical reality is that most retailers can’t absorb increased costs in the present environment. For the same reason that small businesses can’t incur added expenses from suppliers or to overhead costs, the same principle applies to wages. The FWC has completely ignored the commercial reality of being in business in Australia today and we’re concerned for the adverse effect it could have on jobs.
As your Association, and the modern voice of retail, we will continue to agitate on your behalf about these pressures. We have also produced our suite of updated wage summaries to reflect the changes coming from 1 July, which are available to our members at members.nra.net.au.
All the best for the week ahead and keep well.
Chief Executive Officer