1. In our initial submission, we advanced our claim in this Review that an increase to minimum wages of 4% was necessary and appropriate having regard to the factors which the Panel must take into account.
2. As with our reply submissions in previous Reviews, in this submission, we:
a. provide our responses to the Questions on Notice published by the Panel; and
b. respond to a range of arguments and claims made in other parties’ initial submissions.
We do not respond to all of the arguments with which we disagree. We rely on our previous submissions in respect of arguments that have been adequately addressed in earlier Reviews, particularly where the Panel has expressed firm views about such arguments. We include commentary on data released since our initial submission was prepared, where relevant.
3. A departure from our approach in previous reply submissions is that we have not seen fit to apply the same degree of scrutiny to some matters in other parties’ submissions as we have in previous Reviews. The reason for adopting this approach is that we see there is little utility in being critical of parties’ projections about the near to mid-term economic outlook, or the submissions made about how the Panel ought to react to those projections, or in making fine distinctions between the significance of minor movements in particular measures over the first half of the 2019/20 financial year. We adopt that view because we consider that the ultimate outcome in this Review is likely to turn heavily on the Panel’s estimate of the depth and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the various means of government support (for employers and employees) made available in response to that pandemic, and what the “new normal” is likely to look like once social and trading restrictions are lifted and government support is withdrawn. In our view, it is too soon to adopt concluded views about those issues, however we contribute what we can in this submission and will continue to do so in future submissions made to this Review.
4. We express our interest in participating in the consultations that the Panel has foreshadowed will occur on 10 June.