NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is looking to ‘tighten’ its apprenticeship system, which seeks to ensure that Bahamians are properly trained to fill positions employers often seek work permits for.
The matter is presently before the National Tripartite Council for consideration, alongside recommendations for an increase in the minimum wage.
Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said: “We have placed the whole question of minimum wage and the whole increase in minimum wage as a substantive issue before the National Tripartite Council.
“The National Tripartite Council is the statutory body which comprises of the business community, namely the Chamber of Commerce, the unions in the country and the government.
He continued: “It’s an issue now actively ebbing discussed. It’s formally on the agenda. A recommendation will be made by the Council at some point. When that recommendation comes forward it will come to me and I will take it to Cabinet for a final conclusion.”
The minimum wage was increased from $150 per week to $210 per week in 2015. Prior to that there had been no change in the country’s minimum wage since January 2002.
Foulkes said: “There has also been some discussion about the apprenticeship system we have in the Department of Labour. We have had the system now for about three to four years.
“I established a working committee at the Department of Labour to tighten the whole question of apprenticeship to ensure that Bahamians are trained by persons who have work permits within a reasonable time to assume those jobs when the work permit expires.
He said: “We are trying to tighten that process but we are doing it in conjunction with the trade union movement and also the business community and that to has been placed before the National Tripartite Council.”
The National Tripartite Council’s purpose is to advise the government on the formulation of national policies and strategies on all aspects of labour, productivity, quality and competition.