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Fiji Time: 9:26 PM on Saturday 19 April

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Hope for fair pay

Nasik Swami
Saturday, September 28, 2013

GOVERNMENT is committed in ensuring workers in the country are paid just wages.

Labour Ministry permanent secretary Taito Waqa made this assurance during a stakeholder's consultation on Fiji's minimum wage baseline survey at Suva's Holiday Inn yesterday.

Mr Waqa said the consultation would pave ways for government to set the minimum wage baseline, which should address the country's poverty and unemployment rates.

He said the government was looking at launching the minimum wage rate for workers in the formal and informal sector by the end of the year.

"Government is very strong on social justice done with international benchmark," Mr Waqa said.

Fiji Public Service Association general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said their expectations had not been met with the $2.32 minimum wage rate proposed by Commerce Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy.

Mr Singh said Dr Reddy had proposed $104 per week as the minimum wage for Fiji.

He said their argument was that the basic needs poverty line was set years ago at $186 per week, and now Dr Reddy was suggesting $104 which had a gap of 44 per cent.

"Our expectations was somewhere around $200 because we feel that the inflation rate is nearly 25 per cent and he has also used some other figures to justify."

Former Wages Council chairman Father Kevin Barr commended the government's effort to set up a minimum wage baseline for workers.

"It's complemented. A lot of good work has been done in getting all that together. This government has put good statistics and has shown very clearly why we have so much poverty in the country," Father Barr said.