The long-awaited news on the minimum-wage increase is not being well received, according to a number of private-sector business owners.
“With inflation having risen by approximately 8 per cent over the last year, the 80-cents-per-hour proposed increase is grossly insufficient,” says the supervisor of a tourism-related company.
“Individuals with whom I have spoken, who fall within the minimum-wage bracket, see this as a slap in the face,” he says, “and some are saying the Government can do better.”
He reports that these dissatisfied workers are considering the United Progressive Party’s proposal of a reduction in Port duties, saying it “sounds like a great idea” and should be explored by the sitting Administration.
The supervisor says their understanding is that such a reduction will result in lower prices of goods, especially those on the supermarket shelves.
Meanwhile, other disaffected persons are pointing out that there is a “disconnect” between the Cabinet-approved minimum wage and the weekly wages of persons on the Government’s Job Programme.
They note that, at the new rate of $9 an hour, these low-income workers will earn $360, whereas the Government now pays $400 a week to persons on the work-experience programme.
“How will it make sense for a person ‘in training’ to take a real job that is going to pay them less?” critics are asking.
“Disrespect!” a young man declares to REAL News, explaining that he is currently looking for a Christmas job. “Is best people nah work! Is best man just stop home, because it nah make sense to even take bus for that kinda money.”
Underscoring the young man’s complaint, one resident points out that the price of a box of eggs is above the minimum hourly rate.