WA business to be hit hardest by wage rise

06 June, 2017

Struggling West Australian small businesses will be hit the hardest as a result of today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision to inflate wages, says WA’s peak business advocate.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) says the decision to increase modern award rates by $22.20 per week, or 3.3 per cent, far outstrips inflation in WA which currently stands at around one per cent.

CCI called for the FWC to award an increase of $8.10 per week, broadly in line with Perth CPI.

CCI Director of Advocacy Cath Langmead said the FWC’s decision showed a distinct lack of understanding of the conditions WA businesses face.

“Today’s decision from the Fair Work Commission does not reflect the challenging conditions faced by many businesses in WA and across the country,” Ms Langmead said.

“Of all the states, only New South Wales has an unemployment rate that is below the national average – all other states are struggling with an above average jobless rate, and today’s decision will make it harder for small businesses nationwide to grow their operations, create jobs and offer hours for workers.

“CCI and the WA business community urge the Fair Work Commission to act as a truly national body and consider conditions in all economies during their decision-making process.”

Ms Langmead said the FWC’s decision would force WA businesses to find savings by decreasing hours available for workers.

“With the WA underemployment rate at 10.4 per cent and the jobless rate still stubbornly high at 5.9 per cent, now is not the time to make it harder for WA businesses to create jobs, but that is exactly what today’s decision will do,” Ms Langmead said.

“Given difficult conditions throughout the WA economy, businesses will be unable to pass the increased cost burden on to customers, which means savings will have to be found another way, which will likely be a reduction in hours offered to workers – particularly young people, who typically work in part-time and casual roles.

“WA businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors will also be especially disappointed – for the next financial year, today’s decision will completely negate the benefits of reducing Sunday and Public Holiday rates for these sectors, making it harder for retail and hospitality businesses to offer more employment opportunities for workers.”

Media contact: Kate Hodges – 0448 928 227