A union says it hopes other large retailers will follow The Warehouse's example and introduce pay increase plans for their shop-floor staff.
The Warehouse announced yesterday that the first stage of its "career retailer wage" plan would deliver an extra $30 to $65 to the pay packets of 3800 staff when it comes into effect on August 1.
The special wage is available to staff who have completed training and worked 5000 hours or more.
About 200 additional staff will be able to move on to the new rate every quarter. The first stage of the plan will represent an investment of about $3 million from the firm.
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"By the end of this year, about 60 per cent of all permanent team members across the group will be earning the career retailer wage or higher," said The Warehouse chief executive, Mark Powell.
First Union retail secretary Maxine Gay said: "It is interesting that it is general merchandise retailers who are taking the plunge towards paying a more liveable wage, whereas those in the highly profitable supermarket and DIY stores are languishing way behind.
"First Union is currently in bargaining with a number of supermarket and DIY chains and we are hopeful that they will follow the lead shown by general merchandise stores Kmart and The Warehouse and recognise the benefits to their business and workforce from boosting their wage rates also." Christopher Adams