Minimum wage increased to $5,000 per week
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
The minimum wage is to be increased from $4,500 for 40-hour work week to $5,000.
At the same time, the minimum wage for industrial security guards is to move from $6,655 per 40-hour work week to $7,239.40.
The increases take effect on September 3.
In announcing the increase in the House of Representatives today, Labour Minister Derrick Kellier said the adjustment will assist some of the more vulnerable groups.
He said it is unlikely that the increases, will result in job losses.
Kellier said the Government considered factors such as inflation and Jamaica's deliberations with the International Monetary Fund when signing off on the increase.
South West St Catherine MP Everald Warmington rejected the margin of increase saying the minimum wage should be no less than $12,000 per week.
Warmington said the 10 per cent increase to security guards and 11 per cent to other minimum wage earners is "ridiculous, impractical and unworkable".
Opposition Spokesman on Labour Pearnel Charles said it is sobering that the present government is proposing a $500 increase notwithstanding that while in Opposition it was strident that workers deserved more.
"It is almost an insult for me to look at a worker, who is working hard to say 'I am going to give you a $70 per day increase'," Charles said.
He urged Kellier to complete a study on the minimum livable wages and take it to the Parliament.
He said the time has come for the minimum wage to be abolished.
Similarly, South East Clarendon MP Rudyard Spencer said a commission should be set up to deal with the issue of wages for the lowest earning Jamaicans.
"Let us all agree that we are going to pay the people a livable wage," Spencer said.
"There is no doubt in anybody's mind that what is paid is unreasonable and impractical," he added.