Concern raised on productiveness

An Employment Ministry staff member speaks to participants at a national minimum wage consultation in Nadi yesterday. Picture FELIX CHAUDHARY

A REPRESENTATIVE from the hotel industry has raised concerns about the ongoing increase in wages without a clear indication of improvement in productivity.

During a minimum wage consultation Biu Waqaniburotu, the area director human resources at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa asked for an explanation on how productivity figures were used to determine proposed minimum wages for all sectors.

He told consultant and professor of economics at the Western Sydney University, Dr Partha Gangopadhyay, the data should be interesting because the hotel industry struggled to improve productivity. “Improving productivity will definitely give opportunities to improving wage rates,” he said.

“But I think there is a disconnect between productivity and these increases because all the increases that have been happening over the years are based on inflation rates alone and we are forced to increase wages just because of inflation rates and competition between employers to retain employees.

“But we are not actually increasing rates based on productivity and I think there is a huge disconnect that all stakeholders should work together to improve productivity so that it could be fair for employers as well. “When minimum rates are increased, productivity as well should increase, I think that is the disconnect.”

Dr Gangopadhyay said productivity was measured in two ways.

“It is measured by looking at when you increase one employee, how much extra profit you make.

“Alternatively, you can measure it by cost reduction,” Dr Gangopadhyay said.

“So productivity is basically driven by the impact of either on profit output or reduction in cost.”

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