Friday, January 31, 2014

shameful minimum wage in Fiji

from w
The difference between rich and poor in Fiji is so obvious when some wages are so very liow - $2F an hour for people who work just as hard as executives and certainly as some of the bosses who swan around enjoying hospitality, status, and fine travel.  It's really shameful.  Do visiting tourists who might pay up to $500 a night or more at a resort know what the hospitality workers get for cleaning their rooms and so on?   But the workers still smile for the visitors. Isa.
  • Over 60 per cent of Fijian wage earners live below the poverty line while the cost of living is skyrocketing
  • Hotel workers earn less than $3 an hour
  • Most wages are up to 15 to 30 per cent below the poverty line
A letter to the Editor and a piece from Fiji Village:

Letters to the Editor:
Wage rate
Taking into account the current cost of living standards, the NMW rate of $2 recently announced is rather insufficient and ludicrous indeed.
I am quite puzzled as to how one would survive with $2 an hour.
Let's do the math; if a sole breadwinner with a family of four sweats it out for say 45 hours a week, he will earn a ball park figure of $80 after deductions.
Average basic grocery shopping costs for a family of four roughly amounts to $100 to $150.
Subsequently other expenses would linger as well, such utility bills, rent etc. Would $80 a week cover it?
How would this individual cater for other unforeseen expenses such as a medical emergency in the family when he has already spent his $80 on groceries and bills? Rob a bank? Resort to begging and other unlawful activities just to get by?
Mr Usamate, would you ply your trade for $2 an hour? Why don't you humbly accept the challenge and witness first-hand the hardships some people endure earning less than $3 an hour in today's brutal economy?
If not, may I then kindly suggest for you to seriously re-look and reconsider your stance on the above?
Elections are just a tick away; please utilise this opportunity to win the confidence of the common people.
Nishant Singh
Minimum wage rate derived after careful consideration - Usamate
Publish date/time: 01/02/2014 [08:04]
The minimum wage rate at $2 per hour has been derived after very careful consideration and in the interest of the workers and the small and medium businesses.

This is according to the Minister for Labor Jone Usamate who announced yesterday that cabinet has approved the minimum wage rate to be set at $2 per hour.

Usamate said the national minimum wage rate will cover both formal and informal sectors and that a large number of workers in the informal sector will significantly gain from the minimum wage rate of $2 per hour or weekly wage of at least $90.

Usamate added that although the individual income is still lower than the $186 Basic Need Poverty Line income for a four member family, there are several established poverty alleviation measures set up by the government that they can access.

However, the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions and Fiji Trade Union Congress has condemned the government decision to set the minimum wage rate at $2 per hour.

FICTU General Secretary Attar Singh said this has driven the lowest paid workers to permanent poverty.

He added that such rates when once fixed are difficult to adjust upwards.

FTUC National Secretary Felix Anthony said this has deprived workers and their families of a decent living.

He has called on the government to review the decision without delay.

However, Usamate said this will be reviewed within a year.

Anthony said the workers will have their say on this matter soon.

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