Politics

NFP stands by $5.00 pay proposal

The National Federation Party is adamant that a living wage of five dollars an hour for workers is needed to offset inflation.

Calvin Prasad

October 23, 2017 3:45 pm

In a statement, NFP Leader Dr Biman Prasad said a $5 per hour wage would be “catch-up” on the rise in the cost of living over the past decade.

Dr Prasad said his party would carefully design and implement a package over time to look after the interest of everyone including employers, particularly small businesses.

“The dignity and welfare of workers in Fiji can only be improved through the implementation of a decent minimum living wage and the NFP will push for $5 an hour minimum living wage if elected to government.”

“The NFP will enter into dialogue with employer organisations to ensure that the implementation of the minimum living wage is well planned and designed so that there is no drastic impact if any on the employers.”

The former academic said that governments and business often gave job losses and inflation as an excuse to reject increases in minimum wages.

“Indeed, if you increase people’s wages, they have more money to spend on goods and services – and that is good for business.”

The A-G called a press conference outside Suvavou House in Suva on Saturday to address the earlier march and rally organised by the FTUC. (Photo by Newswire.)
The A-G called a press conference outside Suvavou House in Suva on Saturday to address the march and rally organised by the FTUC. (Photo by Newswire.)

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had said that the current minimum wage of $2.68 was for “unskilled” workers, and a $5.00 minimum would have a detrimental effect on small business operators and households who employ domestic workers.

“If Mere has a baby, and she’s working, if she pays someone $5 per hour to work at her house, for 8 hours a day, which is $40 a day, multiply by five it is $200 a week, will she be able to continue with her employment?” asked the A-G.

“A person who is selling mithai, the sweets, he has employed somebody, if he pays him $5 an hour at the mithai stall, do you think he will be able to sell you gulab jamun at the same price he’s selling to you today?”

Felix Anthony addressing the crowd on Saturday at a rally organised by the Fiji Trade Union Congress at Ratu Sukua Park in Suva. (Photo by Newswire).
Felix Anthony addressing the crowd at a rally organised by the Fiji Trade Union Congress at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva on Saturday. (Photo by Newswire).

Note: 8.20PM – The featured image and headline of this article has been updated after clarification from the NFP.

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