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News Report: Minimum Wage Proposal To Gov’T ‘Within A Month’

Written by: Neil Hartnell, Tribune Business News, February 16th, 2022

  • Increase said to be almost inevitable

  • But uncertain if it will be PM’s $250

  • And livable wage ‘way down the road’

Recommendations on a minimum wage increase could be submitted to government “within a month”, Tribune Business was told yesterday, although a liveable version is “way down the road”.


Peter Goudie, who heads the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s labour division, and is its representative on the National Tripartite Council, said it was impossible to determine whether an increase to $250 per week - as pledged by the government during the general election campaign - will be the outcome until all research is completed.


While indicating that some increase for the lowest-paid private sector workers is almost assured, Mr Goudie said it will not necessary be a cure by itself for the inflationary surge in everyday prices that is starting to eat away at Bahamians’ living standards and disposable income.


Disclosing that the Council, which was created to address all labour-related matters in The Bahamas, has formed a committee to research whether a minimum wage rise is justified and to what extent, he added that moving to a so-called “livable wage” - a promise contained in the Davis administration’s Speech from the Throne - is an aspiration that is much further away.


“We’re looking at a minimum wage increase right now,” Mr Goudie confirmed. “We’re doing all the research, but the livable wage, that’s down the road. That’s way down the road. There’s a lot of research and discussion that has to be had about that.


“Like Bernard Evans (now the Government’s chief industrial negotiator said), it may be introduced incrementally, but I don’t think we’re going to get up anywhere the University of The Bahamas came up with. We’re going to have to ask them to come up with their research so we can have a look at it ourselves.


“You cannot expect that everybody in a household of four to five persons is going to have this livable wage wherever it comes from. Suddenly you’re going to have everybody making $600 a week?”


University of The Bahamas (UoB) researchers, in a study produced earlier this year, pegged Nassau’s monthly living wage at $2,625 while the equivalent for Grand Bahama was $3,550 per month.