Govt's support of youth wage intervention attacked

THE small business lobby has hit out at the Gillard government for supporting intervention in youth wage levels, on the grounds it will hurt the retail industry and damage confidence.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said on Wednesday the Fair Work Commission must maintain its role in setting youth wages.

He said the Federal Government had voiced support for a union push to have the government set youth wages, rather than the independent commission.

"Age-based junior wages in the retail industry are set independently, and when last examined the tribunal found they were not discriminatory because they provided an entry into the world of work and acted as a proxy for lower levels of experience," he said.

He said abolition of junior wages based on age discrimination ignored past findings of the commission and would lead to fewer job opportunities for younger workers.

"An even handed approach to industrial relations in the private sector would, at a minimum, be to allow sensitive issues like junior wages and penalty rates to be decided without government barracking for the union cause," he said.


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