Roseau, Dominica – May 15, 2008……….In a decision that reaffirms the instincts of the Dominica Labour Party as a party committed to the social democratic values of social justice and equality, Minister for National Security, Immigration and Labour, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore, has announced an increase in the minimum wage in Dominica, effective June 1st 2008, a decision that will bring much relief to hundreds of low income earners across the country.
Despite several months of discussions and submissions between Government and the Social Partners (Labour Unions and the Chamber of Commerce) on the minimum wage, a consensus could not be arrived at.
The Minister’s announcement was in keeping with Chapter 89:05 Section 5 (1) of the Labour Standards Act which states: ” The Minister may by Order fix a minimum rate of wage in respect of an occupation or category to be paid by employers to employees in that occupation or category.”
In making the announcement of a decision to effect an increase in minimum wage rates for the first time since November 24, 1989, Minister for Labour, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore said:
“The principles of decency and morality require that an interim measure be taken on such an important matter to bring some relief to those persons who are most affected by the cost of living since persons on lower incomes spend a higher proportion of their incomes on food than higher income earners.”
The new rates are in fact recommendations made by an Advisory Board in 1998 and agreed to and signed by all the Social Partners but never implemented by the then Government . This measure is an interim one as a new committee under Labour Laws will be appointed to address current minimum wage issues.
Under the new rates, agriculture and other unskilled workers’ wages will move from the 1989(inflation adjusted rates) of $2.20 per hour to $4.00 per hour. The rates of daily paid (factory and tourism) workers will move from $2.00 per hour to $4.50 per hour. Cashiers and receptionists who now receive a minimum of $3.00 per hour will now receive by law a minimum of $5.50 per hour. Shop Assistants now receive $2 per hour but under the new rates will receive a minimum of $4.50 per hour.
The decision by the Government to increase the minimum wage at this time, albeit a temporary measure, will bring relief to many, fulfilling the raison d’etre of the Dominica Labour Party- to serve the interests of the many and not the few.