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EDITORIAL: Proposed Minimum Wage Rates Could Cut 7000 Jobs

The Textile Clothing & Footwear Industry Coun­cil of Fiji has released a timely statement giv­ing a clear idea of what a sudden and drastic increase in the minimum wage rate
24 Oct 2018 11:35
EDITORIAL: Proposed Minimum  Wage Rates  Could Cut  7000 Jobs
Editorial

The Textile Clothing & Footwear Industry Coun­cil of Fiji has released a timely statement giv­ing a clear idea of what a sudden and drastic increase in the minimum wage rate will mean for the country.

7000 jobs in the garment factories will be lost over­night, which will affect more than 20,000 Fijian men, women and children.

This is the reality of any increase in the minimum wage rate which is not carefully thought out.

This is worrying and this brings us back to the argument that po­litical parties such as the National Federa­tion Party, SODELPA and even HOPE have not considered – jobs will be lost.

SODELPA has said it will increase the wage rate to $4 an hour. NFP said it will increase it to $5 and HOPE said progressively, it will increase it to $10 an hour.

NFP leader Biman Prasad has gone around proclaim­ing that he has been told by businessmen including garment factory owners that they are in a position to pay $5 an hour.

This statement by Michael Towler, who represents the entire industry is a wake-up call for Mr Prasad and all Fijians.

And, this is only one sector which has spoken out.

Wait until the enormity of this dawns upon the ho­tel industry and hoteliers come to realise how coun­terproductive Mr Prasad’s lectures and SODELPA’s Lynda Tabuya’s one liners have on this issue because it will see an end to a lot of our industries.

It is easy for a person such as Ms Tabuya to come out of the political periphery and claim that they will en­sure everyone in Fiji earns $4 at the minimum.

The experts in this area have spoken and they are worried about such nonsensical plucked out of the thin air figures that these politicians are waving around.

This is 7000 people in this industry only who will be without jobs. Our export earnings will also take a hit.

Our hotels will find it harder to operate and earn a profit and when tourist arrival numbers drop, it will be the vegetable farmers who rely on hotels to buy their produce who suffer.

We cannot have irresponsible politicians like Mr Prasad and Ms Tabuya killing our industries.

The facts are out there, it is up to each of us to decide which direction we want Fiji to head.

JYOTI PRATIBHA

Feedback: jyoti.pratibha@fijisun.com.fj

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