“An insult” is how Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), describes the 80-cents-an-hour increase to the minimum wage that was approved, this week, by the Gaston Browne Administration.
According to Cabinet Notes, the National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission recently submitted a report to the Executive, recommending hourly rates of $8.90 or $10.
However, after meeting with the five-member Commission on Wednesday, November 16, the Cabinet opted for an 80-cents increase, taking the minimum wage from $8.20 to $9 an hour, as of January 1, 2023.
Criticizing the decision during the UPP’s “Relief and Recovery Rally” on Thursday night, Lovell said this 10 percent increase on the hourly rate does not seriously help low-income earners with inflation – which is at an all-time high.
He notes that residents’ spending power has fallen way behind what it was in 2014, even as the cost of living continues to increase.
Lovell says the UPP will address this travesty and provide a “living wage,” so that people can survive in this struggling economy.
The UPP Political Leader, a former Minister of Finance, says that a proper poverty assessment needs to be undertaken, given that the last one was completed under the UPP Administration years ago.
He says the needs of every man and woman in this country should be assessed in order to determine what would constitute a comfortable standard of living.
Under a new UPP Administration, Lovell promises that a review of the minimum wage will be done biennially, according to the law, and increases will be pegged to inflation.
The Cabinet decision on the 80-cent increase will now be taken to Parliament, where it will be debated before becoming law.