The Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia (TFIA) has welcomed the recent decision by Fair Work Commission deputy president, Greg Smith, allowing fast food outlets greater flexibility to negotiate with their workers on public holiday compensation.
Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia (TFIA) CEO Richard Evans says this is an important step for all stakeholders in the dynamic, consumer driven, service markets to understand flexibility in the workforce is key to sustainability.
“TFIA’s textile and fashion retailers have long said they need flexibility in being able to negotiate with staff on working public holidays,” Evans said. “Whilst this decision specifically relates to fast food outlets, it is an important first step to changing the old world culture of sacrosanct weekends.”
“Textile and fashion retailers know their most important assets leave every day, and hope they come back the following day,” Evans said. “But the market is now 7 days trade, and textile and fashion retailers need flexibility to ensure they remain sustainable.”
“Labour rates usually sit around 30% of cost, but on public holidays this can increase to 70%,” Evans said. “This unsustainable rate means textile and fashion retailers could be losing money when they open on public holidays to service the consumer market, as may be required by their retail lease conditions.”
“Textile and fashion retailers support penalty rates and overtime, but we think this should be applied after prescribed hours,” Evans said. “A person selling shoes on a Tuesday should not be penalised when compared to some one selling the same shoes on Sunday or a public holiday.”
The decision by the Fair Work Commission allows employers to work with employees offering a day in lieu for work on public holidays and mutual consent is essential.
“This is a first step to overcoming the blanket resistance to discussion on these flexibility matters.” Evans said. “Weekends in the traditional sense do not exist anymore. Our community now expects our service industries to be open when they want to shop and if consumers want that, then as a society, we must allow a more flexible workplace.”
“Retailers should not be penalised, and nor should their employees,” Evans said. “The current system penalises retailers and we need greater balance of understanding from those that hanker for the good ole days.”