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Aussie Retail Union Calls For Wage Rise

Living conditions for retail workers across the country have deteriorated over the past five years, according to the union.

The SDA, the union for retail, fast food, and warehouse workers, surveyed 9,699 members and found the majority struggling under the rising cost of living.

  • 79 per cent of respondents said the rising cost of living is putting pressure on their household budget
  •  56 per cent of respondents said their living standards had declined over the past five years
  •  77 per cent of respondents say that any delay in the National Wage Case would cause financial hardship.

“Retail workers are no longer working to get ahead, they are not even working to stand still, they are working hard to go backwards,” said SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer.

“This is why a commitment to support an increase in the minimum wage is critical to the wellbeing of the nation’s retail workers and their families.

“A wage rise needs to happen right now to help with skyrocketing cost of living and a decade of sluggish wage growth. It’s critical to the future of our economy and communities.

“We know when minimum wage workers receive wage increases, they put it straight back into the economy.”

Brad Banducci, Woolworths.

The Australian Retail Association urged the FWC to lift the minimum wage earlier this month, a sentiment the CEOs of Woolies and Wesfarmers both backed.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci ordered his support to the wage rise in an ASX statement with the company’s March quarter result.

“We support the Australian Retailers Association’s position for an increase in team member wages that keeps pace with underlying cost-of-living increases.”

The ARA said the FWC should use the Reserve Bank’s “actual rate of underlying inflation at the time the annual wage review is handed down” to calculate increases to minimum wages.

Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott agrees, telling reporters, “I suspect that we will see more wage inflation pressures in the year ahead.

“I should note that from a Wesfarmers point of view, I see real wage growth as a very good thing.

“Real wage growth is a good thing for the economy, and if it’s good for the economy, it’s generally good for Wesfarmers.”



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