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PIAA slams Labor plan to raise minimum wage

Tuesday, 06 February 2018
By Print 21 Online Article

‘A clear and targeted attack on small business’: Andrew Macaulay, CEO PIAA.

The sustainability of small business is at risk if the Labor Party’s proposed increase in the minimum wage goes ahead, according to Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries Association of Australia.

“This is a clear and targeted attack on small business, a sector that represents 97% of total Australian businesses and a significant component of the printing industry,” said Macaulay. “As employees within our industry predominantly sit under awards, small businesses within our sector face the greatest risk to potentially crippling cost increases.”

The national minimum wage is currently $18.29 an hour or $694.90 (before tax) for a 38-hour week. The ACTU says wage growth is “stagnant” and the minimum wage should be raised to $852 a week (before tax).

Labor leader Bill Shorten last week did not get into the numbers but said it’s clear the current minimum wage was not adequate. “The minimum wage is no longer a living wage and the current framework simply doesn’t give adequate consideration to contemporary cost of living pressures that working people are battling.”

Macaulay has urged Labor to thoroughly investigate the impact that an increase in the minimum wage will have on small businesses in Australia.

“Market data shows that nationally, nearly half of small business owners already earn less than the minimum wage,” Macaulay said. “There is very little room in small business profitability to absorb an increase in award rates. Without a doubt, the result will be job losses, a reduction in employment opportunities and business closures.

“From what we see and hear, many small businesses in our industry are already having a tough time of it in an environment of soaring electricity prices and ever-increasing compliance costs. This increase could be the end of many of them.

“And the potential impact is far reaching; the recent positive uplift in business confidence and the potential for economic growth will soon reverse if small to medium businesses across Australia can’t afford to employ.”

‘This trend is definitely growing’: Paul Mitchell, national workplace relations manager, PIAA.

The PIAA said the industry was also facing a challenge from the growing trend of worker absenteeism.

“Printers are having significant issues with regards to absenteeism and it is having a direct impact on business productivity,” said Paul Mitchell, the PIAA’s national workplace relations manager. “This trend is definitely growing, with an increasing number of members engaging us to clarify personal leave eligibility and the entitlements of business owners.

“Of course, there will be occasions where employees must take personal leave for illness or to care for someone close to them. However, personal leave should not be considered annual leave. Personal leave should be used appropriately and employers should have confidence that employees are not taking advantage of accrued personal leave.”

2 Responses to “PIAA slams Labor plan to raise minimum wage”

  1. February 07, 2018 at 1:49 pm,

    P. Rinter

    What a crock!
    The PIAA yet again parrot a Liberal Party talking point that no one in the printing industry is even discussing. Macaulay once again demonstrates that he is very much out of step with the industry.

  2. February 09, 2018 at 5:49 am,


    A senior manager from an international press manufacturer told me about 3 years ago that, according to their research, Australia has the highest paid printers in the world, at around $38 per hour at base rate. Nothing wrong with this if it is true but it makes the minimum wage argument irrelevant. Apart from the 457 visa rorts that have (apparently) been stopped, no one is working for the minimum wage in printing.

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