Minimum Wage Consultation Held in Portland

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Chairman of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, Silvera Castro (2nd left), makes a point to Commission member, St. Patrice Ennis (4th left), at a regional consultation held on July 4, at Hotel Tim Bamboo, in Portland. Listening (from left) are Hotelier Hugh Perry, and member of the Commission, Bernita Locke.

Story Highlights

  • Residents of Portland turned out on July 4 to give their views on the minimum wage, at a regional consultation held at Hotel Tim Bamboo, in the parish.
  • Several of them proposed that the National Minimum Wage should be increased to $8,000 per 40-hour week, and the wage for Industrial Security Guards should be moved to $10,000 per 40-hour week.
  • In 2016, the national minimum wage was increased from $5,600 per week to $6,200 for a 40-hour work week. The minimum wage for Industrial Security Guards was also increased from $204.97 per hour to $221.35 per hour for a 40-hour work.

Residents of Portland turned out on July 4 to give their views on the minimum wage, at a regional consultation held at Hotel Tim Bamboo, in the parish.

Several of them proposed that the national minimum wage should be increased to $8,000 per 40-hour week, and the wage for industrial security guards should be moved to $10,000 per 40-hour week.

They also argued that in the effort to increase the minimum wage, consideration must also be given to affordability on the part of employers.

In 2016, the national minimum wage was increased from $5,600 per week to $6,200 for a 40-hour workweek.

The minimum wage for industrial security guards was also increased from $204.97 per hour to $221.35 per hour for a 40-hour workweek.

Member of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, Bernita Locke, who is the representative for the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), urged employers to give due regard to the increases that will come into effect after the consultations.

“It is grounded in the law that as employers, we should not pay less, and there is no legal violation if you pay more,” she said, noting that there will be serious action once a report is made and it is confirmed that employers are paying less than what the Ministry approves.

Chairman of the Commission, Silvera Castro, told the forum that where employers can give a wage increase to their workers, they should not wait for an official announcement.

“If you have the ability to pay, go right ahead and pay,” the Chairman said.

Commission member, St. Patrice Ennis, who represents the trade unions, also addressed the gathering.

He emphasised the need for a minimum wage, explaining that many persons are not represented by trade unions, and they must be protected.

The Commission will stage its last consultation on Thursday, July 13 at the Ministry’s 1F North Street offices, in Kingston.

Previous consultations have been held in Montego Bay, St. James, and Mandeville, Manchester.

The Minimum Wage Advisory Commission is comprised of representatives of the Government, trade unions and employers’ groups, and is mandated to review the rates annually.

It conducts consultations in keeping with the Minimum Wage Act, and recommends minimum rates for groups of wage earners who do not have the bargaining power to negotiate for fair wages.

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