CHRISTMAS has come early for workers in the country following government's announcement to increase the minimum wage rates from 7.9 per cent to 10.4 per cent.
Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate confirmed the new minimum wage rates for workplaces covered under the 10 Wages Regulation Orders (WROs), effective yesterday.
Workers in the printing trade, building and civil and engineering trade, hotel and catering, mining and quarry industry and those in wholesale and retail trades have been approved an increase of 7.9 per cent.
Security service workers will get a 9.7 per cent increase in their wages and workers in the manufacturing and garment industries will receive a 9.9 per cent increase.
Sawmilling and logging workers get the biggest chunk of the increase with 10.4 per cent, followed by workers in the transport sector who received a 10 per cent rise.
"These raises are reflective of the positive growth in the national economy and confidence in the labour market," Mr Usamate said.
He said this was the first time in Fiji's history that the government had introduced a productivity-based wage system for the 10 sectors covered under the WROs, which also accounted for the cost of living component.
Mr Usamate appealed to all employers to honour their moral and legal responsibilities to their workers by fully complying with the new wage rates and minimum conditions under the 2012 WROs.
He also reminded them to continuously improve their levels of productivity by adopting modern business practices and to invest in quality training of their workers to remain competitive.
Mr Usamate acknowledged the deputy chairpersons of the 10 wages councils for their dedication and commitment to complete the due process under the labour law despite the resignation of the wages council's chairman, Fr Kevin Barr, and the boycott by the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) members of the wages councils.
He reiterated the government's commitment to ensure social justice prevailed for workers.