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JAMAICA |PNPYO wants a 'progressive approach' to minimum wage

President of the Peoples National Party Youth Organization, Krystal Tomlinson President of the Peoples National Party Youth Organization, Krystal Tomlinson
July 25, 2018 (Kingston, Jamaica): The People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) says while it welcomes the increase in minimum wages passed in yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, it is not sufficient to meet the needs of the minimum wage earners.

A press release from the PNPYO, says "while this recent increase will add an average of $823 each week to purses of minimum wage earners and security guards, it is unconscionable to think that this is sufficient for them to meet their basic needs."

"It has been over 2 years since the lowest paid workers in our economy saw an increase in wages. Over the period they have been financially crippled and unable to function in an economy that has seen a severe decline in the value of the dollar, ballooning gas prices and ever rising costs for food," the resease says.

To provide a sense of security for the most challenged in our economy, the PNPYO appealed to the government to adopt a more progressive outlook in the design of our national labour policies.

"There should be a percentage below which an increase should not fall.  Over the last 7 or so years, the increase per year has been, on average $400.  While we understand that it is a minimum wage and employers can go above it, if we set the bar too low, then even if a benevolent employer goes above the bare minimum, one may still find that the wage is still insufficient to satisfy the basic economic needs of the worker," the youth organization said.

"We support the position of Opposition Spokesman on Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley that an increase in minimum wage should be mandatory each year and above the rate of inflation. This should be legislated so that no Government can absolve itself of that obligation.

"The minimum wage cannot remain an issue that is addressed at the convenience of  the Government’s political agenda. It is an assault on the dignity of the poor to leave them battered by the unending storms of our underperforming economy.

A minimum wage keeps the poor in poverty. Only a living wage empowers people to gradually exit the doldrums of an indigent, hand-to-mouth existence.

The PNPYO recomended that  there should be consideration for what is known as a living wage - the minimum income needed for a citizen to meet their basic needs.

This call comes at a time when even members of our Police Federation are insisting on a similar standard to ensure that their rank and file members are able to survive. Undoubtedly, the establishment of a living wage benefits the society at large.

  • Countries: Jamaica

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