The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) has welcomed the government’s recent move to convene the National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee.
The last review of the national minimum wage took place in 2013 under the Baldwin Spencer administration, however the recommendations agreed to were not implemented until 2015 under the Gaston Browne administration.
General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union, David Massiah, says such unconscionable delays put already vulnerable workers at risk of further economic hardship.
“It is a disadvantageous position for the average person in society because the real wage continues to be outstripped by the movement of economic activities in the country and that is why the Government has to review the minimum wage every two years [and bring it] in line with the consumer price index and inflation.”
The ABWU also welcomed Labour Minister Steadroy Benjamin’s suggestion that the committee consider a sectoral approach to the minimum wage, as opposed to “having one national minimum wage across the board”.
But Massiah stated that the 2013 National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee had outlined a tiered system in its proposal to Cabinet, dated 11 February 2014,that was not implemented.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union expressed its hope that the newly formed National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee will result in the government’s implementation of a tiered minimum wage system that provides a fair and livable wage for all.