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NFP Reveals: $5 Wage Rate To Be In Stages

After months of campaigning for a $5 minimum wage rate, it has been revealed the National Federation Party will implement it in stages. NFP leader Biman Prasad has admit­ted it
08 Oct 2018 14:14
NFP Reveals: $5 Wage Rate To Be In Stages
NFP Leader Biman Prasad and provisional candidate Kamal Iyer. Photo: Yogesh Chandra

After months of campaigning for a $5 minimum wage rate, it has been revealed the National Federation Party will implement it in stages.

NFP leader Biman Prasad has admit­ted it will be done in phases – not a di­rect increase from the current $2.68 an hour to $5 an hour.

Mr Prasad has told a small business owner via email that the NFP does not plan to have a direct increase.

In fact, this is also highlighted in the published NFP policies, but rarely mentioned by Mr Prasad on any public forum.

In a private email exchange which was sent to the Fiji Sun, Mr Prasad tries to assure the businesswoman that there were no plans for an im­mediate and direct increase.

What NFP plans to do is what Fiji­First has been doing since it intro­duced the minimum wage rate – by increasing it systematically over a period of time.

The Fiji Sun asked Mr Prasad the following questions:

  1. Will the NFP implement the $5 in stages?
  2. How much will they start with?
  3. When will it be increased to $5?
  4. We also received communica­tion you had with a small business owner on the MWR (minimum wage rate), you are talking about it being implemented in phases so it is important people know how much to expect in the first year.
  5. What does a phased-in living wage mean?
  6. What group of policies will be implemented to support the $5 MWR? Can you please list these policies for our readers?

These questions were sent to Mr Prasad last Wednesday. He respond­ed that the deadline of Wednesday afternoon was not fair so Fiji Sun asked him to respond to these que­ries by midday Saturday.

Instead, Mr Prasad accused the journalist of not being objective and insisted on writing an Opinion- Editorial instead of responding to the questions.

Fiji Sun offered Mr Prasad a page in the Saturday paper to put for­ward his views, but also asked that he also treat the questions sepa­rately and that he would respond.

This is the political column Fiji Sun offers to all political parties to put forward information on their policies.

Nothing further was heard from Mr Prasad on this matter when this edition went to press.

When $5 an hour not $5 wage?

Mr Prasad has refused to say how much the party will really increase the rate to. He has also refused to clarify how long it will take to in­crease the ‘living rate’ to $5.

Furthermore, he has refused to explain what he means by ‘living wage’ and whether the policies they plan to implement will be taken as part of this wage. He has instead taken to dangling a carrot called the $5 living wage in front of people without going into the details.

The exchange between Mr Prasad and a businesswoman reveals his and NFP’s intentions:

 

—–Original Message—–

From: Biman [mailto:bcprasad91@ gmail.com]

Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:02 PM

to: *****@connect.com.fj

Subject: $5 at the very least i FT opinion.pdf

Dear *****,

See attached article articulat­ing our policy on minimum wages which appeared in the Fiji Times.

Towards the en,d I am talking about the package and assuring that small businesses would not be affected.

Regards and thank you for com­municating with me

Regards

Biman

On 28 Sep 2018, at 19:09, ****** ******@connect.com.fj> wrote:

Dear Mr Prasad,

I was looking forward to reading that policy but you sent me your personal opinion which was pub­lished earlier. I do know the differ­ence between policies and personal opinions. Actuall,y I am very dis­appointed reading your opinion as it has no explanation on how the small businesses will not be affect­ed. You are making a lot of state­ments but without any policy, ex­planation or practical solutions the small businesses will face if the minimum wage will be $5. If you don’t have a policy than at > least you can be honest about it.

*****

—–Original Message—–

From: Biman [mailto:bcprasad91@ gmail.com]

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2018 7:52 PM

To: *****

Subject: Re: $5 at the very least i FT opinion.pdf

I am sorry you are misreading the party position. The party policy is reflected in our manifesto which is also available on our website.

If you read carefully it says a phased implementation. I sent you the article so you can understand the logic and explanation behind our policy. I respect your view and you are entitled to disagree with the party policy but please don’t ac­cuse us of being dishonest.

Many small businesses that I have talked to and who understand our policy are supporting our policy on this. Off course we don’t expect every one to agree with us and we respect that.

Kind regards

Biman

—–Original Message—–

From: ****** [mailto:*****@con­nect.com.fj]

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2018 9:51 PM

To: ‘Biman’

Subject: RE: $5 at the very least FT opinion.pdf

Dear Mr Prasad,

It still doesn’t not explain how it will not affect the small busi­nesses. When I sent you a text on Sunday, you said that your policy explains and that lot of the employ­ers support you with this minimum wage. My question was if these employers support you than why can’t they pay their employees $5 minimum wage anyway. I am not misreading your party position but you are misleading the people by giving statements without backing it with practical solutions. As soon as the minimum wage will increase to $5, the price of the product will increase. If you disagree than back it with proper explanation and not a statement pls. Also if you say­ing it’s a phased implementation than why mislead the people and say that you will legislate the mini­mum wage to $5 if you form the government. Why don’t you tell the people of this country that it will be a phased implementation. ******

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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