25 Jul 2012

Vanuatu union says proposed minimum wage hike still insufficient

5:50 pm on 25 July 2012

The Vanuatu National Workers Union says a proposed 15 percent increase to the minimum wage will still not be enough for an average family to survive on.

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council is seeking employers' views on a government proposal to increase the minimum wage to 319 US dollars.

However, the Vanuatu National Workers Union says a 2006 study showed that the bare minimum a family of five needed to survive on was both parents each earning 385 US dollars a month.

Its secretary general, Ephraim Kalsakau, says while the union welcomes an increase, it was not consulted on the proposed rise.

He says it seems like this is just a ploy for the Minister of Labour, George Wells, to get votes.

"As far as I'm concerned this is just another propaganda for the minister to get votes because he runs in the second town of Vanuatu, Lugainville, so he needs to show his salary earners in Lugainville that he has done something because there hasn't been a salary increase since 2009."

Ephraim Kalsakau says the union was given no time to consult workers on the matter.