Days after the country’s major trade unions called for the minimum wage to be increased to $30 per hour, a recommendation is expected to go before Cabinet within the next two months.
This was confirmed to Guardian Media by Minister of Labour, Stephen Mc Clashie, yesterday.
Mc Clashie also disclosed that he is currently reviewing the recommendation to see whether it is workable going forward.
Asked if he could disclose details in the recommendation, Mc Clashie replied: “No, I would not say because that recommendation, as I said, would have to go before the Cabinet. Within a month or two it should be before the Cabinet.”
Mc Clashie, however, noted that he is currently discussing the minimum wage issue at his ministry.
“The issue of minimum wage is always under consideration so it’s not something to be taken lightly. You would appreciate that when the minimum wage goes up and employers pay minimum wage their prices also go up and, therefore, it affects the cost of living so we are discussing it at our ministry right now.”
The minimum wage is currently at $17.50 and took effect in December 2019.
During the Labour Day celebrations on Monday, however, leader of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), Ancel Roget, demanded that the minimum wage be increased from $17.50 to $30 an hour.
Roget said workers need to be treated with dignity and respect and called on the membership of the trade unions and other minimum-wage earners to stand with JTUM and its increase demand.
However, not all sectors of the society are in agreement with an increase at this time.
Economist Dr Marlene Attzs and Supermarkets Association president Rajiv Diptee feel the focus should be on the cost of living.
The Employers Consultative Association, meanwhile, said it is not opposed to a minimum wage increase in principle but noted that several factors are involved in creating a sustainable living standard.
“Minimum wage setting is a process that considers many factors, beyond just cost of living which, if not properly balanced, can have far-reaching implications for businesses—particularly small businesses, job seekers and society,” the ECA said.
“Those who are charged with fixing the minimum wage need to look at that balance which must include the participation of all social partners. The ECA is committed to engaging in tripartite dialogue on this issue through established mechanisms to do so and encourage our colleagues in the labour movement to do the same.”