The decision last week by the Fairwork Commission to lift the minimum wages by 3% is reasonable in my view. When considered against the annual 5% increase in rent and increases in many business costs, a 3% increase in the base cost of labour is not the bad news some are saying.
Sure no business owners wants costs to increase, especially in a business like a newsagency where a decent chunk of what you sell is sold at prices over which you have no control. However, 3% is within the band of what I’d expect a well run newsagency to be growing each year.
I don’t understand commentators, business group spokespeople and Treasurer Joe Hockey who say the 3% increase will cost jobs. Shopping centre landlords increase rent 5% a year, more than Fairwork increases, yet they don’t face the same attention. It feels like business looking after business and them ganging up on the weakest – the employees.
Good employees are valuable in any retail business. Quibbling over less than $20 a week is nuts since a good employee could easily make that much extra each week.
Our challenge as retailers has to be to partner with our employees to ensure we get the best value and can therefor pay them better value.