Oct 25, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The Government is seeking to increase the minimum wage for Private Sector workers from $42,000 to $60,000. This was announced by the Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton in an interview with another section of the media this week.
Upon taking office in early August, the Labour Minister said that minimum wage in the Private Sector is a critical area of focus for his administration. The Minister had stated in a press conference that the former government had a tripartite committee responsible for reviewing the matter and the issue of increasing minimum wage in the Private Sector was discussed; however, the group has held no meetings for discussions in a very long time.
He had also disclosed that he instructed the Chief Labour Officer (CLO), Charles Ogle to hold an urgent meeting so that the issue can be properly addressed. Upon reviewing the matter, the committee had recommended an increase to $60,000 from the current $44,200 a month. Hamilton expressed how pleased he was with the committee’s recommendation and said that the committee will be reconfigured and re-established with the assistance of the CLO.
In his interview this week, Hamilton told the media that despite pushing to raise the minimum wage, strong consideration is being given for the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the onset of the virus, many businesses were forced to dismiss employees and even shut down completely due to economic difficulties they started to face. The Minister noted that the Private Sector raised the issue of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Guyana’s business sector and highlighted the “downturn” businesses have faced thus far.
Minister Joseph said that the minimum wage definitely will be raised, but they will be considering the impact of COVID-19. The government is actively engaging with stakeholders so that it can be decided how soon the recommendation will take effect. “The question is should or can we do it now and how will it impact more workers who are working in the private sector?” the Labour Minister said.
Following the announcement of the salary increase, concerns were raised by many persons on social media regarding the possible impact a salary increase can have on private business owners in this time.
Many of the persons contended that it might be untimely to raise the minimum wage since many businesses are already struggling to pay employees, while others opposed saying that a boost in salary is just what is needed for persons already struggling due to the pandemic.
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