Wage rise 'would hurt business'
AUSTRALIA'S accommodation sector has used recent natural disasters in regional areas and the onset of the carbon tax in attempts to persuade Fair Work Australia not to increase the national minimum wage by more than 2.25 per cent.
In its submission to FWA's annual wage review, the Accommodation Association of Australia argues a rise of more than 2.25 per cent would hurt businesses in regional NSW and Queensland already reeling from recent floods.
In opposing a rise of more than 2.25 per cent the AAA also cites the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, an increase in superannuation payments from 9-12 per cent over the next eight years and the carbon tax, due to come into effect on July 1.
The AAA wants its 2.25 per cent cap to apply to the national minimum wage, which stands at $589.30, and minimum wages in modern awards.
"The effects and uncertainty surrounding the proposed carbon tax would be felt in particular, by small and medium-sized businesses in the accommodation sector because although the tax will be directly targeted at the top 500 polluters (and none are operators of accommodation businesses), the cost of permits for the biggest polluters will be passed through the supply chain to the accommodation industry," the submission reads.
"Such a scenario (an increase of more than 2.25 per cent) would preclude many businesses from consolidating on 2011, where our industry is still in recovery mode from the global financial crisis.
"The downturn in the tourism industry means predictions for trading in 2012 and 2013 are underwhelming, to say the least."
The AAA, which evolved out of the former Hotel Motel and Accommodation Association last year to provide a unified voice for the tourism accommodation sector, also recommends FWA puts in place a legally binding wages/superannuation trade-off.
United Voice, the union representing accommodation workers, was unavailable for comment.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions, in its wage review submission released last month, called for a $26 a week increase to the national minimum wage, a rise of 4.4 per cent, and a 3.8 per cent increase to all higher award rates of pay.
FWA has received more than 30 submissions from myriad industry and union groups.
Final consultations between the FWA and stakeholders for the annual wage review will take place in Melbourne from May 14-18.
The ACTU will have its consultation on May 21, as its biannual ACTU Congress is being held in Sydney from May 15-17.