10 Feb 2009

Fiji's business community says deferring wage rise order will help

9:22 am on 10 February 2009

Fiji's business community says deferring a wage rise order will help struggling businesses get back on their feet, especially in the wake of floods and a tough economic climate.

The interim Prime Minister announced the decision, saying that the timing to raise wages across nine sectors was bad, and the demand for goods and services exported by Fiji overseas has somewhat adversely been affected by the global financial crisis.

Fiji's Employers Federation chief executive officer Ken Roberts says local businesses are really feeling the pinch, especially after last month's devastating floods, and welcomes the move.

Mr Roberts says the minimum wage order has been a confusing affair, with expectations it was supposed to kick in on the 1st of February, and many employers considering staff lay offs to compensate.

"I think many of them started to make adjustments to their payroll systems to make it possible for that to happen. But there were a lot of people started to look at what casual labour was drawing and whether to continue to have those people on the payroll."

Fiji Employer Federation CEO Ken Roberts.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has directed that the new wages order be deferred to July 1.