$3.10 is max

Professor School of Business, Western Sydney University, Dr Partha Gangopadhyay speaks to participants during the Ministry of Employment seminar at Tanoa Plaza in Suva on Saturday, May 26, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE national minimum wage rate for unskilled workers in Fiji could increase from $2.68 to $2.75 an hour — if approved by Cabinet. This was revealed by the Employment Ministry’s independent consultant on the country’s national minimum wage rate, Dr Partha Gangopadhyay during a consultation on the review of the national minimum wage rate organised by the ministry in Suva yesterday.

“The national minimum wage will mostly be based on inflation figures. These figures are given to me and I work on the basis of this, and I have recommended three wages. “The bare minimum $2.75, the absolute maximum $3.10 and something in between $2.85,” Dr Gangopadhyay said.

Dr Gangopadhyay said he was working on data supplied to him by Government and issues raised by employers and employees during nationwide consultations would also be considered when he submited his report to Government.

“This is only a recommendation, and I am now getting issues from the consultations to see where I have got things right or got things wrong, and I have been reminded about the data. My response is ‘I trust the data’.”

He said his work was only to make recommendations on what the national minimum wage rate could be and the endorsement and implementation was entirely up to Government.

Dr Gangopadhyay also said it was at the employer’s discretion if they should increase the wages of their employees or not, but the minimum wage was to set a baseline for wages for those employed in the 10 sectorial wages industry.

The 10 Wages Regulations Order sectors are; printing trade, wholesale and retail, hotel and catering, sawmilling and logging, road transport, building, civil and electrical engineering, manufacturing industry, mining plus quarrying and security services.