Friday, October 04, 2013

Wages for cane-cutters in Fiji

from w
In Labasa cane-cutters work in gangs and are often given accommodation and meals so it has been suggested that if they are to be given the minimum wage of $2.50 the farmers cannot make any profit.  This article is from today's Fiji Times.  Photos are from Vunivau Labasa and one cane-gang is from the prison and I don't know how much they get paid.

Debate on minimum wage benefits

Serafina Silaitoga
Saturday, October 05, 2013
THE proposed minimum wage may not benefit farmers in Labasa, says Satish Kumar, a businessman and vice president of the Labasa Chamber of Commerce.
Expressing his views about the proposed wages at the Ministry of Labour's consultation yesterday in Labasa, Mr Kumar said people in the area relied on agriculture for income.
"We rely on cane and agriculture for income in Labasa and if $2.50 per hour is the minimum wage rate given to sardar or canecutters, how will the cane farmers survive?" he asked.
"The present government is trying to revive the industry but with the wages guideline being proposed, it will not happen.
"This is because at the end of the day, farmers pay their labourers, transportation, sardar and food to feed their labourers and this all comes from their pockets."
Mr Kumar said having farmers to take care of such costs would only leave them with no savings.
"So what will be left with them?
"The industry will decline if that happens."
But national minimum wage consultant Dr Mahendra Reddy said canecutters were paid by tonnes and not by hourly rate.

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