The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said it strongly supports the Federal Courts decision to uphold the Fair Work Commission’s Penalty Rates Decision.
The decision was to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates under the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA) 2010.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the decision vindicated the hard work that had been put in by the ARA over the past four years to increase employment rates in the sector.
“The latest August retailing trade figures of only 2.15% year-on-year growth have proved just how challenging the current retail climate is,” he said.
“These disappointing growth figures, combined with increasing economic pressures are significantly affecting employment rates across Australia, and stifling retail growth nationally.
“We now have a unanimous decision from a five member Full Court of the Federal Court supporting the unanimous decision of a five member Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission to reduce penalty rates.
“The ARA hopes the ALP and other political parties who are seeking to overturn this decision are sensible enough to accept the umpire’s decision and allow retailers to get on with the job of employing more people.”
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise (ASBFE) also welcomed the judgment by the Federal Court.
ASBFE Ombudsman Kate Carnell said small business owners would be relieved at the decision.
“[It] levels the playing field in competition against big business,” she said.
“Big business and unions have made deals in the past through enterprise agreements which traded penalty rates for union membership and higher base rates.
“Small businesses don’t have the capacity to negotiate enterprise agreements and continue to grapple with the most complex award system in the world.”
Ms Carnell said people’s lifestyles had changed over the past 20 years and that people want to be able to both work and shop on Sundays and public holidays.
“It’s a shame that unions are running a scare campaign against the penalty rates decision,” she said.
Ms Carnell said everyone should respect the decision.
“Otherwise, the integrity of the system is undermined.”