JIS News

Residents in Central Jamaica had a chance to air their views as to whether or not there should be an increase in the national minimum wage, as the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission (MWAC) wrapped up its regional consultations on Thursday (March 18) in Manchester.
Several persons, who attended the meeting held at the Manchester Club, agreed that while an increase in the minimum wage was not unreasonable, the state of the economy would make the move difficult at this time.
“If the company is not growing it is foolish to make a demand for increase in wages; that is a recipe for disaster, not only for the company closing, but also for the worker losing his job. So, the first task is to get the company to grow,” said member of the Commission representing the trade unions, Danny Roberts.
Mrs. Bernita Locke, who represents the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) on the Commission, said that any recommendation for an increase in the minimum wage, must take into consideration the two-year public sector wage freeze.
She noted that a significant number of persons, who employ household helpers work in the public sector.
“We concur with the Ministry of Labour (and Social Security) to reduce costs and save jobs; that is what the Federation has been imploring people to do,” she stated.
Chairman of the Commission, Silvera Castro, in the meantime, reminded employers, who are able to pay workers above the minimum wage, to do so. “The minimum wage is just a guide and all we are saying is, don’t go below. We are here to protect both parties,” he stated.
Last year the national minimum wage was increased by 10 per cent, moving from $3,700 to $4,070 for a 40-hour work week for householder helpers and from $5,500 to 6,050 per 40-hour week for security guards.

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