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Fixed Increase Will Avoid Negative Impacts on Inflation

Fixed Increase Will Avoid Negative Impacts on Inflation
Participants and representatives from the various sectors listening in during the consultations at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel, Lautoka, on May 23, 2018. Photo: Peni Komaisavai
May 24
12:24 2018

The Minimum Wage and Wages Regulations Review Consultant Professor Partha Gangopadhyay suggested the minimum wage to be increased because of inflation and safeguarding workers’ family welfare.

“There should be an increase in the minimum wage and it is quite substantial for two reasons. One is inflation and the second thing is we also have a minimum wage to look after the families and households,” Professor Gangopadhyay said.

He said there was also a need in having these minimum wage fixed so that the effects of inflation does not affect an individual’s wages, “the value of what a person is earning goes down during inflation”.

“In one way we are pushing them towards the median wage of a country and in the other we are also pushing them away from the effects of inflation.”

Fiji’s national minimum wage is standing at $2.75, but Professor Gangopadhyay suggested if it could be moved up to an amount between $2.83 to $3.10.

“A good resolution may be at $2.85, but this is just a recommendation from my side.”

He said this should be coinciding with the low income earning family consumption data and how these new wage rates would be helping them.

“That is also important because it is not only about giving them money and then everything goes up and inflation goes up, we are just trying to actually bring more economic power to these households.”

Ministry for Employment Productivity and Industrial Relations Permanent Secretary Salaseini Daunabuna said there had been a gradual increase in the national minimum wage since 2013.

“So even though we have set the minimum wage after the exercise that has been done by the consultant independently, what happens is that it is just the basic start for the employers and of course they can always pay someone higher then what is at the minimum rate,” Ms Daunabuna said.

To this Ms Daunabuna said a protection floor for this had to be created in order to prevent any employer paying their employee an amount less than the national minimum wage.

She said before that, people were being paid as low as $1 to $1.20, but now the constitution had provisions that protected workers from getting any amount less than the national minimum wage.

The ministry also confirmed that 150,000 Fijians fell in the minimum wage category.

Edited by Percy Kean


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