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An open letter to Sally McManus – secretary of the ACTU

time sheet, pay, wageDear Sally,

You have recently argued that a $50 minimum wage increase is necessary while acknowledging that many people on the minimum wage are in the hospitality and retail industries. 

I am not sure whether you read the article the following day “Nearly 1500 retail businesses ‘at risk’ of imminent collapse”.

Does it occur to you that there is a disconnect between these two articles?

Most retail businesses – and others I daresay – have a KPI which measures wages as a percentage of sales.

Now if you flick to the Australian Retail Association you will notice that on 14 March they reported timid post-Christmas trade, with a 2.09 per cent total growth year-on-year.

What does this tell you Sally?  

If you are demanding a wage increase of over 7 per cent and sales are rising by 2 per cent, there is a shortfall of 5 per cent or your wages are going to blow out.

So what do you think will happen?

Retailers will have to cut numbers – again – providing less opportunities for those at the bottom of the food chain.

Sally, you will be familiar with the internet and the increase in retail sales through this channel. You will have noted that the bricks and mortar retail industry is under siege.

Why would anybody or any organisation in their right minds push for ludicrous self defeating increases?

Are you and your cronies intent on driving the retail trade where you drove the manufacturing industry in Australia? It really isn’t hard to do. Just keep on with your work. Ask any ex Toyota, Ford, Holden worker and they will provide you with first hand proof that what you are doing works incredibly well.



Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or +61 414 631 702 or +61 2 4377 1111

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