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$2.32 condemns workers to life of poverty

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, February 17, 2017

THE Government's $2.32 minimum wage is condemning unskilled workers to a life of poverty and exploitation by businesses, claims the Fiji Trades Union Congress.

FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony said while they welcomed the recent announcement by Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Minister Jone Usamate that Government intended to review the minimum wage and wages regulations orders, he called for widespread consultations.

"Government has repeatedly said in domestic and international forums that it wants to eradicate poverty," he said.

"And the only way it can do this is by ensuring that every worker earns enough to cover basic food items, housing needs and pay for utilities — their water and electricity bills. Any wage that does not allow them to do that is nothing short of a farce.

"We believe $4 an hour is a good starting point. A worker on this rate earns about $150 a week and when you take into account the cost of food, transport, housing and utilities, this will allow a worker to provide decent meals and shelter for his or her family.

"We have said time and again that the $2.32 minimum wage is condemning workers to extreme poverty and exploitation by businesses and this must be reviewed after extensive consultations with all stakeholders."

Mr Usamate, who is abroad, said he would respond to questions sent by this newspaper on the comments made by Mr Anthony upon his return.








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