Retailers praise Federal Court for preserving independent umpire’s integrity, after union challenge to penalty rates quashed

The National Retail Association (NRA) has this morning praised the Federal Court for rejecting the unions’ attempts to have the penalty rates ruling of the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission (FWC), overruled.

The Court has this morning handed down its decision to reject United Voice’s and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association’s cases that various determinations of the FWC, relating to penalty rates applying to five modern awards, were invalid.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said retailers were pleased to see the issue put to bed, so they could get on with running their businesses, creating employment opportunities for Australian workers, and contributing to the Australian economy.

 “The FWC devoted two years to examining all sides of the issue, and weighed up evidence from 143 witnesses and almost 6000 written submissions, before determining a very sensible compromise that reflected a modern social and economic environment,” Ms Lamb said.

“Given the reductions were offset by an increase to the minimum wage in June this year, but the reductions were then slated to be phased in over four years, there’s really been no relief for retailers.

“We need to step preventing retailers from adapting to a rapidly-changing environment, and work out how we, as a nation, can instead enable and foster growth for one of the most valuable contributors to the Australian economy,” she said.  

“Our members are out there devising new ways to do business, innovating their offerings, thinking outside the box and finding remarkable ways to cater to modern consumers, but they can only do so much without the support of equally forward-thinking decision-makers.

“Retail employs the highest number of youth than any other industry in Australia, so we’re pleased to see this sensible decision upheld and are looking forward to being able to employ more young Australians going forward.

“We will continue working with our members to drive innovation and sustainability in this sector,” she said.