Federal

Mar 16, 2018

Scenes from a wage case

Retailers, apparently oblivious to irony or self-preservation, want wages cut because people aren't spending much in shops.

Bernard Keane ā€” Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The fact that several retail associations wanted either a zero real wage rise or a real wage cut on minimum wage employees has attracted some media attention in relation to the Fair Work Commission's current minimum wage inquiry; less so their reasons. One particularly important reason that retailers want no wage rises is that consumers aren't spending. 

According go the National Retail Association (#unhelpfulacronym: NRA, wants a 0% rise), "recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the sector suffered a 0.5 per cent fall (seasonally adjusted) during the traditionally busy month of December and the figures for January 2018 again highlighted poor sales growth."

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7 comments

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7 thoughts on “Scenes from a wage case

  1. Limited Through Mixed

    Speaking to a local cafe manager in Prahran they commented that takings are way down and continue to slide as people are cutting back on discretionary spending – the first thing to go when there is less money around.
    People are either staying away or only grabbing a coffee and not staying for brunch or lunch.
    They have already had to cut shifts or lay off staff.
    The reason? Wages are low and expenses are rising in households.
    The cafe manager cannot believe the stupidity of the various industry groups.
    And these so called industry leaders want to hold back wage growth at or below CPI?
    Moronic. Simply moronic

  2. brian crooks

    how stupid are the conservatives and their retail and small business mates, the only way for a spending resurgence is by increasing incomes, this generates higher sales more jobs, more tax paid by both workers and companies, cutting incomes is like cutting your leg off because you have a sore toe, the same goes for labor`s stupid attack on small superannuate`s, slashing their income has the same economic effect, you might notice neither shorten or bowen suggested doing anything about the politicians rorting of their super at taxpayers expense, all one cosy little nest of vipers when it comes to their corrupt little deals.

  3. Arky

    Admitting that increasing wages drives spending and economic growth would be tantamount to admitting that increased government spending also drives economic growth, and that the holy grail of tax cuts and trickle down was not the only or even the right path to growth.

  4. Linda Connolly

    immediate $30 a week rise in dole needed. both so people can actually exist on it and as an immediately effective retail economy stimulus. no brainer

  5. AR

    Indexing the highest paid to the lowest paid might frighten the horses.

    1. cyberfysh

      Yes; maybe if CEOs weren’t given 200 x average worker’s remuneration, some of the companies’ profits could go to wage increases, and the workers would have more to spend on brunches, etc., and the small businesses would be able to employ more staff who would pay taxes and ameliorate the perpetual “budget emergency”, so that we wouldn’t have to cut funding for welfare services …

  6. Dougz

    This underscores how desperately we need our leaders to articulate a wealth and income distribution policy.
    We only have around ten million households and the poorest 1m have only $33k/ year income. Over the last 2 decades it hasn’t kept pace with GDP growth. Much the same for poorest 4 million households.
    The wealthiest 1 million households have $230k/year and that’s where the vast increase in spending power has ocurred.
    The marginal propensity to spend increased household income INSIDE AUSTRALIA by the top million is abysmal.
    Yet every Captain of Industry will solemnly pronounce how important it is that wage growth, in their industry, is constrained and returns to shareholders are increased or they will scare off investors.
    Have any of these guys studied ecomomics?
    It is because they have, collectively, been so successful in retarding the spending power of the poorest 4 million households, that low consumer spending and confidence are retarding GDP growth and thus that of their businesess.
    Economics 101.

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