14 Oct 2013

Fiji union leader says minimum wage should be double proposed rate

8:17 pm on 14 October 2013

The Fiji Trades Union Congress says it would like to see the national minimum wage set to a rate similar to the Cook Islands, at 5 dollars an hour.

The governments national minimum wage consultant, Dr Mahendra Reddy, has recommended the national minimum rate be set at $2 dollars 32 cents Fijian an hour.

The president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, Daniel Urai, says that is very low, and much lower than what already exists in 10 different wage sectors.

Mr Urai says the labour ministry has also failed to enforce the minimum wages in these sectors, and this needs to change if a national minimum wage is to succeed.

"We will have to review the minimum wage, at a more reasonable rate, and we have to strengthen the capacity of the ministry of labour so it has improve it's manpower, increase the manpower within the ministry to be able to police this thing. So that, whatever the decision to implement, all employers will implement...we would like to look at something similar to what the Cook Islands pay, 5 dollars an hour."

Daniel Urai says if the proposed $2.32 rate is approved, some employers, who normally pay higher, will take advantage of it, and start paying new workers into the industry, the lower rate.