Media Releases

“Fair Pay” agreements will drive price increases and not supported by retail sector or New Zealanders

22 June 2022

Retail NZ has today highlighted the key impacts of the proposed Fair Pay Agreement Bill in an appearance before Select Committee.

“During our submission to the Education and Workforce Select Committee today Retail NZ highlighted the significant impacts of the proposed Fair Pay Agreement Bill on the retail sector and on consumers. We will likely see prices increase, aggravating the cost of living crisis, as retailers as grapple with the implementation costs, impact of increased hourly rates and the return of costly penal rates.

“On average, net retail margins are just under four per cent in our sector. This means that for every $20 spent retailers receive just 80 cents profit, so it is impossible for retailers to not pass on price increases to consumers. This Bill will likely lead retailers to increase prices increases, look at reducing store hours, and drive automation to replace jobs.

“The proposed legislation allows a tiny minority of workers to require a “Fair Pay Agreement” process.  Just 1,000 workers – that’s less than half of one per cent of the retail workforce – have the ability to force all 27,000 retail businesses and 220,000 retail workers into a mandatory process. 

“Given the low trigger threshold and imbalance in this legislation Retail NZ has taken the step to commission formal research to ask New Zealanders whether they think negotiations for their employment agreements should be between a union and business representatives – only 29 per cent of New Zealanders agreed.”

“Furthermore, New Zealanders are concerned by the impacts ‘Fair Pay’ Agreements will have on their daily shopping. 75 per cent are concerned about price increases, 63 per cent are concerned about a Fair Pay surcharges,  60 per cent are concerned about freight costs increases for online shopping and 49 per cent concerned about reduced retail store hours.”

“Retail NZ is calling on the Government to ditch the ‘Fair Pay’ legislation. This legislation must be rejected, based on the majority views of submitters, impact of industries and the views of New Zealanders about the control they want to have on their own employment contracts.”

Editor’s notes: 

  • Retail NZ appeared before the Education and Workforce Select Committee this morning, the appearance can be seen online here. A copy of our submission can be found here
  • The Research for Retail NZ included was based on a survey of 1,000 New Zealanders, and the results were weighted to reflect the population.  The margin of error is +/- 3.1 per cent, at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Media contact: 
Greg Harford 
Retail NZ
Chief Executive
027 243 2842
[email protected]


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