Page 70 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
P. 70

Association News
News updates from the printing industry
Emerging IR issues facing print industry
Industrial relations is an emerging issue. Central
to the work of PIAA is industrial advocacy for our employer members. The
public statements of the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) are not positive for any Australian employer.
The question of minimum wages is how long will it be until they become unaffordable for small business?
According to a recent report
in The Australian, some members of the Federal Opposition, as well as a few big unions, have recently called for restrictions on businesses using overseas labour to perform work that would normally be performed in Australia, But has anybody really asked the question why businesses send local jobs offshore?
Every year the big unions try to push up minimum wages much higher than the cost of living. It is no wonder that businesses, especially small businesses, think about how they can they become more competitive. It is not rocket science that some businesses will automate jobs, outsource jobs, use labour hire and move jobs overseas if unions keep pushing up minimum wages year after year. Australia’s minimum wage rate is the second highest in the world.
Andrew Macaulay
PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay says the push to increase
the minimum wage by Labor and the unions will be bad for business and only succeed in sending more work offshore.
Industrial relations: key issue on the agenda of the industry
The big unions don’t want Australian jobs sent overseas, and the majority of Australians don’t either, but that is exactly what will happen when the unions keep pushing up minimum wages each year. If the cost of living is going up
in a particular area, such as energy prices, let’s come up with policy solutions to fix
the high cost of energy prices, instead of always trying to increase wages well beyond the rate of inflation to compensate for high energy prices.
Of course Australian businesses should be employing Australian workers, but if minimum wages keep rising every single year, at some
stage Australia will reach a tipping point – will Australian businesses be able to afford to employ Australian workers? And what about small businesses, how will they be able to afford to employ Australian workers?
Last year the Fair Work Commission increased minimum wages by 3.5 per cent and in 2017 minimum wages rose by 3.3 per cent - both increases are well above the
rate of inflation. Perhaps it is time to abolish the existing annual minimum wage review conducted by the Fair Work Commission, and consider Parliament legislating an annual
increase to minimum wages based on the rate of inflation”.
The federal opposition leader has doubled down, by stating that Australian minimum wages need to be a set at the level of a living wage. This would involve minimum wages rising by a further 10 per cent from their current level. How many small businesses will be able to afford their wages bill increasing by
10 per cent? How many small businesses will be forced to reduce the number of hours their staff work? How many small businesses will forced
to reduce their staff numbers because they can’t afford to pay their staff the correct wages? How many small businesses who are already operating on low profit margins will be forced to close? It seems a question of when, not if, minimum wages become unaffordable.
Lobbying works
As we face two significant elections in Australia in 2019, momentous decisions are being made at policy level by both “parties of government”. Within our lifetimes in Australia, it is only the Liberal Party and the Labor Party that have been
able to form government. This situation now appears to be in flux, with our polity reverting to a situation closer to what
we had at Federation, with coalitions of smaller parties aligning to form government.
We saw this with the Gillard Labor minority government existing due to support of the Greens, and we have recently seen the significant influence that minor parties have held on the cross bench during the turbulent Abbott/Turnbull/ Morrison government.
The outcomes of the NSW state election in March and the looming federal election look increasingly likely to be heavily influenced if not decided by minor parties. Who these minor parties are, and whether they are sympathetic to business owners, is critical to the visual communications sector.
70 Print21 MARCH/APRIL 2019

   68   69   70   71   72