By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
LABOUR and Immigration Minister Keith Bell revealed yesterday that his ministry is expected to receive recommendations from the National Tripartite Council on the increase of minimum wage in the next two weeks.
Mr Bell told reporters that upon receiving those recommendations, he will then present them to Cabinet for review and approval.
“Once we get those recommendations, (and) I’ve already communicated with the Office of the Attorney General in respect to looking at the legislation, but once we get those recommendations, it will then go to the Cabinet who will make determination as to what that will be and how it will pan out,” the minister said yesterday.
“…There has to be widespread consultation, as you would appreciate with both the public and private sector, particularly our private sector industry in terms of where we’re going with it.”
Calls for increasing the minimum wage have intensified in recent weeks in the wake of rising fuel and food costs caused by inflation among other factors.
The country’s current minimum wage is $210 per week, but the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) committed to increasing this to $250 per week in its election campaign blueprint.
However, a representative on the National Tripartite Council recently told Tribune Business it was impossible to determine whether the government’s proposed increase to $250 per week will be the outcome until all their research is completed.
“It’s very significant and I can’t emphasise that enough and that is one of our major things we hope to achieve in this administration — the elimination of our minimum wage and the implementation of a livable wage,” Mr Bell said yesterday, “and so obviously, the finer details have to be worked out, but we anticipate that we will definitely get through this during the course of this administration very early and we should see that very soon, some legislation.”
Officials were unable to say yesterday what some of the NTC’s proposed recommendations are.
However, Labour Director Robert Farquharson told reporters a number of factors will be taken into consideration by the council, including the daily cost of living.
“I am not at liberty to speak specifically about the contents of (those) recommendations,” he said when asked about the issue. “I could say a number of factors will be taken into account, including the cost of living, the regional comparison on minimum wage, inflation and the need of the government’s policy on increasing minimum wage. We are committed to doing (the) necessary research and I’m confident that in the very near future, a recommendation will be sent to the government for an increase in minimum wage.”