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Private sector minimum wage up for review- Labour Minister

by Samuel Sukhnandan

In a few weeks from now, the National Tripartite Committee would be meeting with stakeholder representatives, where the matter concerning increases in the minimum wage for the private sector could be finalised.

Minister of Labour Mr. Joseph Hamilton made this disclosure earlier Monday, when he was asked whether plans are in place to review the proposal for such an increase. According to the minister, the matter remains incomplete after discussions stalled late last year.

The committee which comprises representatives of the labour movement, the private sector and the government, had reached consensus on increasing the national minimum wage to $60,000 (US$275) per month, but the implementation was later stalled.  “Whatever reason since that time, the committee has not engaged again. I have instructed the Chief Labour Office to have that meeting reconvened, so that the proposal they have on the table about raising minimum wage in the private sector, could be dealt with and implemented,” he added.

During May last year, a government consultant disclosed that the then Department of Labour was working assiduously to raise the private sector’s minimum wage, “to bring it up to speed with the 2019 economic circumstances.”  It was also noted that in January 2017, the minimum wage for the private sector was increased from an hourly rate of $202 to $255 taking the monthly wage from $35,000 to $44,200.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) had also criticised the previous government for not adopting the decision to increase these wages.

“At this time, the Federation looks to the implementation of an approved decision. Undoubtedly our nation’s workers are more than deserving and the improvement would bring about much deserved relief to our working-class,” the umbrella union body added.

The minimum wage for public sectors employees stands at $70,000.