In the coming weeks, we will see the Fair Work Commission hand down its decision on increasing award pay rates. The National Retail Association understands that pay rates are one of the key factors in attracting and retaining good staff.
But we also understand that while some sectors of the industry are doing well, there are others that have struggled through the COVID close-downs and now are facing cost pressures across their supply chains. We also understand that the recovery is patchy across the nation – with stores in some cities and states doing better than others.
Coupled with the July 1 increase in the superannuation guarantee and rising interest rates, we know that there is not the capacity for a big increase this year. That’s why the NRA has made a case to the Commission for a modest increase of 3 per cent. We feel this is a fair balance between the need to help staff manage cost of living increases, and the need to help businesses stay afloat.
Sadly, this balanced approach and understanding of the needs of small businesses haven’t been shared across the retail sector. We’ve seen other retail lobbyists urging higher wage increases at the behest of big business, regardless of the capacity of small businesses to pay. And while some vested interests clearly can afford to pay more, these public statements cause damage to those parts of the industry still recovering.
I want to assure you that the NRA prides itself on truly representing the needs of all our members, large and small. Because the NRA isn’t bankrolled by a small number of big players, we don’t have vested interests guaranteed a place on our board and we don’t act as the media mouthpiece for single members, to the detriment of others.
We will always put the interests of our members first – no matter how big or how small they are. And that’s why we will continue to campaign for a sensible wage rise – one that supports workers without driving small retailers out of business.
Best of luck for the week ahead.
Chief Executive Officer