NatRoad cautions against minimum wage increase

Clark says FWC must preserve current levels during pandemic

NatRoad cautions against minimum wage increase
Warren Clark


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) warns the Fair Work Commission (FWC) against minimum wage increases at this time, citing multiple economic factors conspiring against transport businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says members are "facing dire circumstances", including a broad decline in demand, while government initiatives like JobKeeper see criteria largely inapplicable to trucking.

"Whilst there was an initial upsurge in supermarket and related food supply chains in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now a slump in demand for most transport services.

"Members are telling us that jobs will be even more at risk if there is a minimum wage increase, especially at the levels sought by the ACTU and unions at a 4 per cent increase.

"Award wages should not increase at this time of economic uncertainty.

"Whilst around 6.3 million workers are currently having their wages subsidised via the federal government's $130 billion JobKeeper scheme, many in the road transport industry are not eligible – because of the industry’s slim profit margins by the time you qualified for JobKeeper you’d likely already be insolvent.

"Minimum wages have consistently risen by more than prices particularly in the past three years."

Industry's plea for JobKeeper scope widening, here

Clark also notes members indicate customers are forcing downward pressure – such as to reduce their prices or to extend their payment terms. 

"Forget about getting a price increase in the current environment, they say. 

"With any increase in wages, there is likely to be staff cuts or more business closures.

"The industry can’t afford an increase in minimum wages during this pandemic."

ATN has sought a union response on the matter.


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