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Restaurant and Catering Australia gets behind wage freeze

Restaurant and Catering Australia has called for a minimum wage freeze, saying that the Fair Work Commission should not grant any increase this year, given the financial pressures on cafes and restaurant from ­increased competition and the impact of above-inflation minimum wage increases granted by the commission in recent years.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Juliana Payne said workers had ­received above-inflation minimum wage increases in recent years and the impact had been compounded by casual loadings and penalty rates.

She said the sector would only be prepared to support an ­increase in the minimum wage in the future if there were significant changes to the “complex” award structure and an improvement in the profitability of employers.

This is the second consecutive year that Restaurant and Catering Australia has supported a minimum wage freeze.

However, ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the call by the peak body as being ­driven by “appalling self-interest”.

The Australian Retailers ­Association said it would support a 1.8 per cent rise, equal to $12.95 a week, in line with the position put by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This comes despite a survey that showed half of its ­membership also supported the minimum wage being frozen this year.

The looming May election has split the two major parties with Opposition leader Bill Shorten putting his weight behind a living wage campaign and PM Scott Morrison saying any wage increase for low earners would force employers to sack them.



Sheridan Randall, 14th March 2019