Minimum wage committee to be appointed, says labour director

Minimum wage committee to be appointed, says labour director
Director of Labour John Pinder. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Director of Labour John Pinder confirmed yesterday that the National Tripartithe Council will create a council to recommend a way forward on minimum wage.

Pinder said the Council met last week to discuss pertinent issues, including the country’s minimum wage.

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.

“It was brought up,” Pinder said.

“I introduced it so that we can start having discussion on it.

“The chairman will appoint a committee who will look into it and eventually we will be able to report to the government what we come up with, so that we can put it into action.”

The 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; review and advise the government on ILO matters and conference agendas; and examine and re-examine at appropriate intervals ILO Conventions and Recommendations that have not been ratified or implemented and recommend appropriate measures for the promotion of their ratification and implementation.

The conversation surrounding minimum wage was once again ignited after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis stated on the sidelines of Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association annual general meeting last month that there will be an increase in minimum wage for government employees.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Peter Turnquest noted that there is no provision in the current budget for a public sector wage increase.

Asked yesterday about a possibly time on the council’s review, Pinder noted that they will be working around the budget year.

“If the government is going to look at the minimum wage for the public service as it relates to any increases  it’s probably going to be in July after the budget is passed.

“So the discussions need to be have…if they come out with any decision.”

Pinder noted however that the government doesn’t need the Council’s decision to raise the minimum wage for the public sector.

But the general public the genera business people…who sits at the council level…still ting to toll as to whether minimum wage is better or livable wage.

“Once we could get those discussions out of the way, I believe we can come up with something affordable.”