Unions, Vic. Govt. welcome minimum wage boost, retailers body calls it ‘unsustainable’

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ACTU Secy.Sally McManus: 2.3 million workers to get a pay increase because of unions.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 1 June: The Fair Work Commission to increase the minimum wage by 3.5 percent, increasing the hourly rate to $18.93 has been welcomed by the Victoria Government and unions. But the Master Grocers Australia (MGA), has called the wage increase ‘unsustainable’.

Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins says, “I welcome today’s Fair Work Commission decision. Victorians who rely on minimum and award wages deserve a
pay rise – it’s as simple as that.”

“This would be a better outcome if the Liberal Party had not supported cutting penalty rates for vulnerable workers – those workers are still falling behind.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus says more needs to be done to support the nation’s lowest-paid workers.
The ACTU boss says while it is a good result, the outcome is still far short of a living wage.

“2.3 million workers to get a pay increase because of unions,” Sally says.

The wage boost gives the workers a $24.30-a-week pay rise with the national minimum wage increasing to $719.20 a week.

An MGA statement says, “The decision by the Fair Work Commission today to increase the award rates by 3.5% will, according to Jos de Bruin CEO of Master Grocers Australia, be a serious setback to the sustainability of thousands of family enterprises and private businesses in the retail industry.”

Mr. Jos de Bruin said, “This increase comes at a time when competition continues to impact on the ability of small businesses to survive and the cost of doing business continues to escalate. Now it’s going to cost more to employ staff, so where is the incentive to provide more jobs?”

“Higher wages mean that less people will be employed in the retail industry. Retailers will look to putting staff off rather than increasing job opportunities. Many retailers are losing confidence in their ability to battle on and some will just close their doors.”

“MGA was hopeful that the increase would be lower after the 3.3% they had to cope with last year. An increase of this size will make life harder for family-run enterprises to survive at a time when profits are low, and margins are slimmer than ever.”

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