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News News Retail up, down or steady: no reason for pay cut
Media Release       9 January 2013
Retail up, down or steady: no reason for pay cut
UnionsWA has commented on today’s release by the ABS of retail figures for WA and issued related data from the ABS on the seasonal fall in earnings for private sector workers.  UnionsWA has called on employers to cancel their campaign for pay cuts for retail and hospitality workers.
Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Today’s ABS data on the retail sector in WA shows that after more than three years of continuous growth, the sector is stable.  Retailers have won Sunday trading yet continue to campaign to cut the wages of low paid retail and hospitality workers by seeking to abolish penalty rates.
“This week the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA released its Survey of Business Expectations predicting harsh economic times in the future and reporting that employers nominate wages costs and staff turnover as their first and fourth greatest pressures.
“Employer groups seem to want to cut pay whether the economy is good or bad, and wish for a magic pudding where they can cut pay while improving staff retention!
“Now is a good time to take a reality-check on the employer campaign to abolish penalty rates.
“The extra income from penalty rates earned during the pre-Christmas rush and New Year sales are, right now, important for low paid retail and hospitality workers so they can get through January when there is less work.
“Many workers are casual and don’t get holiday pay.
“ABS data shows that WA private sector employee earnings declined on average by $107 per month from November 2011 to February 2012.  During other times of the year earnings typically rise slightly to keep pace with costs of living.
“Of course it’s hard for businesses to meet some challenges such as online retail.
“A focus on higher skills and more secure work and pay are likely to deliver a workforce that has strong customer services skills.
“But it’s hard to have confidence if the only response from some employer groups is to cut wages for the low paid at a time of rising costs of living in WA.”
Meredith Hammat is available for comment.
For more information contact: Philip O’Donoghue 0417 923 029 or podonoghue@unionswa.com.au
Sources:
Australian Bureau of Statistics (8501.0 Retail Trade, Australia, November 2012) http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8501.0?OpenDocument
Australian Bureau of Statistics (6302.0 Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2012) for full time, adult; total earnings (i.e. including any paid overtime) in WA for private sector employees.
Survey of Business Expectations, December 2012, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA  http://www.cciwa.com/docs/economics/sbe-survey-december-2012.pdf

UnionsWA has commented on today’s release by the ABS of retail figures for WA and issued related data from the ABS on the seasonal fall in earnings for private sector workers.  UnionsWA has called on employers to cancel their campaign for pay cuts for retail and hospitality workers.


Meredith Hammat, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Today’s ABS data on the retail sector in WA shows that after more than three years of continuous growth, the sector is stable.  Retailers have won Sunday trading yet continue to campaign to cut the wages of low paid retail and hospitality workers by seeking to abolish penalty rates.

“This week the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA released its Survey of Business Expectations predicting harsh economic times in the future and reporting that employers nominate wages costs and staff turnover as their first and fourth greatest pressures.

“Employer groups seem to want to cut pay whether the economy is good or bad, and wish for a magic pudding where they can cut pay while improving staff retention! 

“Now is a good time to take a reality-check on the employer campaign to abolish penalty rates. 

“The extra income from penalty rates earned during the pre-Christmas rush and New Year sales are, right now, important for low paid retail and hospitality workers so they can get through January when there is less work.  

“Many workers are casual and don’t get holiday pay.

“ABS data shows that WA private sector employee earnings declined on average by $107 per month from November 2011 to February 2012.  During other times of the year earnings typically rise slightly to keep pace with costs of living.  

“Of course it’s hard for businesses to meet some challenges such as online retail.  

“A focus on higher skills and more secure work and pay are likely to deliver a workforce that has strongcustomer services skills.  

“But it’s hard to have confidence if the only response from some employer groups is to cut wages for the low paid at a time of rising costs of living in WA.”

Sources:

Australian Bureau of Statistics (8501.0 Retail Trade, Australia, November 2012) http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8501.0?OpenDocumen


Australian Bureau of Statistics (6302.0 Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2012) for full time, adult; total earnings (i.e. including any paid overtime) in WA for private sector employees. 
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6302.0


Survey of Business Expectations, December 2012, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA  http://www.cciwa.com/docs/economics/sbe-survey-december-2012.pdf

 
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