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Multiple stakeholders involved in minimum wage review, says Labour Commissioner James


Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Ministry of Employment and Labour is working closely with its tripartite partners and other agencies/institutions to review the current minimum wage in St. Kitts and Nevis, and to determine the best way forward, given factors such as inflation and the consumer price index.

On this week’s edition of the radio and television programme InFocus, Commissioner of Labour, Shernel James, said that the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, appointed by the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Marsha Henderson, has met several times. She gave insight into the ongoing process.

“This committee is tripartite plus in nature – government, workers, employers, and civil society,” she stated. “Each entity that is a part of the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee presents to the committee a position paper. And it is based on data – what is the inflation rate, what is the employment rate, the consumer price index, and all of these things. … And they would make a recommendation as per what they think the minimum wage should be based on the data they looked at.

“It is the committee’s decision to look at all of these positions, determine at the end of it if we should have an increase or if there should not be an increase and then present our findings to the Minister of Labour, who then takes it to her Cabinet colleagues to review,” Commissioner James added.

Junique Eddy, Head of the Occupation Safety, Health and Environment Unit, said that when he conducts health and safety inspections at various workplaces/sites, persons often reference the need for a pay hike. However, he added that employers have to consider the responsibilities of the employee, the workers’ qualifications and experience, and the entities’ salary scale.

Market forces also will factor into the decision.

“We continue to field these questions, and we continue to give the realist answers that we can,” Mr. Eddy stated. “Once we keep working on this minimum wage advisory, we will be better geared towards a better understanding of what we can do.”

InFocus airs live on ZIZ Radio and Television every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Replays air at various times on select stations. It can also be accessed on ZIZ and SKNIS’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.


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