Published by Jasper Ward, The Nassau Guardian, June 24th, 2022
Director of Labour Robert Farquharson said yesterday the government aims to have a new minimum wage for the private sector by the end of the year.
“The government has received the recommendation from the National Tripartite Council on the increase in minimum wage,” Farquharson said.
“Like I told you, the process is ongoing. It is before the government and it is the intention of the government to go out for additional consultations with the private sector before a decision is made.”
When asked if the public can expect something by the end of the year, he replied, “I can tell you that you can see something before the end of the year.”
The private sector minimum wage is $210. The public sector minimum wage is $225 and is expected to increase to $250 next month.
An increased minimum wage in the private sector will likely impact roughly 50,000 workers, Farquharson said, though he did not indicate how he arrived at that figure.
He was unable to disclose the proposed new private sector minimum wage.
Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s Labour Committee said yesterday the private sector is generally not opposed to a reasonable increase in the minimum wage.
It said consideration must be given to the fact that there are two knock-on effects of a material increase in the minimum wage.
“Firstly, a material increase in the cost of labor will lead to the further inflation of the price of goods and services to the consumer in a time when inflation is already high, due to factors external to the business community and the country,” it said.
“Secondly, if such inflation is not tolerated by the consumer, meaning that the consumer decides not to buy or dramatically reduce their spend on goods and services, the result will be a downsizing of labor, further affecting the unemployment rate or result in the [cessation] of operations of some of the impacted businesses.”
The committee noted the government’s commitment to consultation with the private sector on this and other issues in the purview of the National Tripartite Council.
It said it stands ready to use that body to find “a suitable middle ground” that will provide for the increased cost of living while not stifling economic growth in The Bahamas.
The cost of living has been a public concern for some time in The Bahamas, with residents frequently expressing frustration over increased expenses and stagnant salaries.
Worsening inflation has further fueled concerns as many struggle to make ends meet.
Visit the Nassau Guardian to read the entire article: https://thenassauguardian.com/govt-wants-new-private-sector-minimum-wage-by-years-end/