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New minimum wage recommendation in two weeks

Balford Henry

Wednesday, July 04, 2012    

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THE National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission (NMWAC) expects to complete its work and recommend a new minimum wage within two weeks.

NMWAC Chairman Silvera Castro said Monday that following tomorrow's final round of regional consultations — covering Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine — the commission will make its recommendation to Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier.

"We are working to conclude our work no later than the middle of the month," Castro said.

The committee is hoping that the consultations, to be held at the ministry on North Street in downtown Kingston, will attract the three most influential players in the process — the Jamaica Employers' Federation, the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). Although their input is critical, none of these bodies have made written submissions, but the commission expects them to make oral presentations tomorrow.

In recent years, the PIOJ's submissions have had the most bearing on the final outcome, and it seems likely that this year's increase will be in the region of eight-10 per cent based on the agency's cost of living projections.

"We have to look at the national cake, the economy and what the employers can afford because we don't want it to become a disincentive to employment," Castro said.

But it is the Cabinet which will have the final say. The minister will forward the commission's proposals to its members, who have at their discretion the power to alter the figures. The ministerial orders which will follow are subject to affirmative resolutions in both houses of Parliament.

The last movement in the national minimum wage was the 10 per cent increase to $4,500 per 40-hour week for regular day workers, and $6,655 for industrial security guards. It was effected in February 2011.

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