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Cutters, maids qualify too

Serafina Silaitoga
Friday, May 19, 2017

CANEcutters and housemaids will also qualify for the minimum wage of $2.68 per hour, once Government endorses the approved rate that is under public consultation.

Ministry of Employment deputy secretary Vilimone Baledrokadroka said all working sectors would need to abide by the minimum wage.

He confirmed at the minimum wage consultation in Labasa yesterday, that cane cutters and housemaids also qualified.

"This new rate of $2.68 will cover everybody else who is not covered at this point in time," he said.

"When the national minimum wage comes through, no employer will pay less than $2.68 so housemaids and those working in private resident homes and canecutters are also included.

"This minimum wage will cover all other workers and that is the primary intent here."

Mr Baledrokadroka said all workers who were paid below the proposed minimum wage of $2.68 would be paid the new rate once endorsed.

However, the National Farmers Union has not agreed with the decision to include cane cutters in the minimum wage.

"It's unpractical and this will discourage people from cutting cane because it's not an easy job compared to office work," NFU president Surendra Lal said.

"The ministry should have a consultation with the cane industry stakeholders so we can work out the number of hours cane cutters will be paid based on the minimum wage.

"Right now the canecutters are paid according to tonnage and it's a good payment."

Mr Lal questioned who would compensate the housing and food costs that farmers had borne over the years for canecutters.

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