The National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission (NMWAC) held the fourth in its series of public consultations at the Mandeville Hotel in Manchester recently.
The sessions are aimed at garnering stakeholder feedback and suggestions, as the Commission seeks to review the rate for a national minimum wage and a minimum wage for industrial security guards.
The minimum wage was last increased by 28.5 per cent on April 1, 2022, from $7,000 to $9,000 per 40-hour work week, or from $175 to $225 per hour.
The rate for security guards moved from $9,700 to $10,500 per 40-hour work week, or from $242.50 to $262.50 per hour.
Addressing stakeholders in Mandeville, Commission Chairman, Dr. Ronald Robinson, noted that inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the last minimum-wage increase granted to workers at the lower end of the salary scales.
Consequently, he said participating stakeholders’ feedback, both from individual and organisational perspectives, is imperative.
“Even though you… represent your companies, many of you are also employers who have helpers and gardeners and depend on the outcome of what happens [during the deliberations],” he said.
Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) member representative on the Commission, St. Patrice Ennis, said a “livable” rather than a minimum wage is being proposed as an ideal alternative.
He pointed out, however, that the social criteria of what is deemed livable would first have to be established.
Mr. Ennis, in noting the two categories of minimum wage in effect, invited persons to “make recommendations as to what you think is reasonable for both, as it is important for… our deliberations, and report to the Minister [of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda]”.
A wide cross-section of employers and employees, representing various sectors in Manchester, attended the forum.
Similar consultations have been held in Trelawny, St. Ann, and Portland.
The Commission will make recommendations to Minister Samuda, based on suggestions from the public.
The National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission comprises representatives of the Ministry, Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), and Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU).
It is responsible for obtaining and recording information about wages and remuneration, conditions of work and other factors affecting the circumstances of employment.