By Grant Shepherd
According to the latest jobs data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the retail sector has been hit hard over the last three months, with 6400 workers made redundant in the sector.
According to ANRA CEO, Margy Osmond, the ABS labour force figures for the May quarter revealed that 12,400 full-time jobs were lost over the period, but to offset this 6000 part-time jobs have been created, therefore leaving 6400 out of work.
Osmond commented that this switch between part-time and full-time is consistent with other sectors. She also emphasised how the jobs boost seen after the first stimulus package has not been carried over following the second release.
“The first cash handouts, combined with interest rate cuts and Christmas, helped boost retail jobs by 11,000 between November 2008 and February 2009 (8400 of these jobs were part-time),” she said.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to see the same jobs effect following the second stimulus package.”
Osmond used this example as the perfect reason for the government to hold off on raising wage costs.
“The latest data underlines just how much pressure is being placed on jobs in the retail sector. It reinforces the argument from retailers that the next 12 months is precisely the wrong time to raise wage costs,” she said.
“Our overriding concern is the threat to jobs by the higher penalty rates and casual loadings of the modern retail award. Higher Sunday penalty rates, for example, are likely to slug employers with about $100 million in extra costs.”
Osmond finished by urging the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to fulfil the Government’s promise of no additional costs for employers from award modernisation.