The National Retail Association has today expressed its disappointment at the 5.75 per cent award wage increase handed down by the Fair Work Commission, saying it was divorced from the commercial reality for most Australian businesses.

NRA Legal Director Lindsay Carroll said the increase would be simply unattainable for most businesses, and predicted many would be forced to cut work hours for employees or lay off staff.

“Frankly, we are disappointed that the Commission could be so out of touch with the realities of most Australian businesses,” Ms Carroll said.

“At every turn business owners are being crunched with additional costs – interest rates, rent, electricity and they were already facing an increase in the superannuation guarantee from July 1.

“Now they are expected to find an additional 5.75 per cent for their wages bill at a time when costs are rising across the board and consumers are tightening their belts.

“This shows a very disappointing lack of understanding on the part of the Commission of the many challenges confronting business owners across the country.”

Ms Carroll said the decision was also at odds with attempts by the Reserve Bank to rein in rampant inflation, saying such a large increase without any productivity gains would only serve to push inflation higher.

“It makes no sense that we have the Reserve Bank doing everything in its power to wind in spending, but at the same time having the Fair Work Commission pouring fuel on the fire,” Ms Carroll said.

The National Retail Association is the voice of modern retail, representing more than 60,000 shop fronts nationwide.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

For more information, contact the National Retail Association’s media unit on 0467 792 013.