An increase of the minimum wage would cause WA businesses to reduce hours for staff, delay hiring and force lay-offs, WA’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned.
CCI WA has indicated the possible consequences of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ push for a 6 per cent rise in the minimum wage, followed by another 5.5 per cent increase next year.
In a survey of business members throughout retail, manufacturing, mining, health, hospitality and construction sectors, it asked whether they could manage a 5 per cent wage rise.
It found more than three quarters of WA businesses would be forced to cut staff, reduce hours or put off hiring.
It also found when given the opportunity to choose more than one option, almost 44 per cent would delay hiring news staff, 38 per cent would reduce staffing and 36 per cent would reduce hours of existing staff.
The survey also found that 63 per cent of businesses in the retail industry would reduce staff, 40 per cent would delay hiring and 35 per cent would reduce staff.
47 per cent of small businesses claimed that they would be forced to reduce current hours of existing staff.
CCI chief executive Chris Rodwell said that while the ACTU’s proposal would boost the minimum wage into a “living wage” but would affect the state’s unemployment.
“At a time when WA has the equal highest unemployment rate in 17 years at 6.8 per cent, federal Labor needs to consider the WA jobs that would be lost if they proceed with this proposal,” Mr Rodwell said.
“There are more than 97,000 West Australians who are unemployed and just over 16,000 advertised job vacancies in WA, which means job creation is critical to turn the unemployment rate around.”