Union’s unreasonable stance on penalty rates is costing jobs and closing Australian businesses

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is appalled by false union claims suggesting the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found no evidence linking employment levels to penalty rates.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ACTU’s claim that the FWC found no evidence that cutting penalty rates leads to employers hiring more staff is completely untrue.

“It is common knowledge that the FWC said last year (during its decision to reduce the Sunday penalty rate for restaurant industry workers) the Sunday penalty rate ‘would have some effect on employment’.

“The ARA is aware that many large retail chains have been closing as many stores as possible on Sundays and public holidays to avoid paying penalty rates.

“Unrealistic penalty rates have made many businesses unviable over the last year. The ACTU has chosen to ignore this sad reality.

“There’s no denying the fact that retailers would employ more staff if they did not have to pay penalty rates. However, seeking to be the voice of reason, the ARA is not calling for penalty rates to be abolished altogether but there is a strong need to get the balance right. Only then can retailers operate competitively on weekends and offer increased employment opportunities,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.                                                                  

-ends-  For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Line T: 0439 612 556 or E: media@retail.org.au