Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan announced today that Government intends to keep a campaign promise to raise the minimum wage.
The MP for St Peter said Government has informed the Social Partnership, the tripartite grouping of Business, Labour and Government. He gave no timeline as to when the hike would be introduced.
“Government has certain expectations from business owners. We expect that as we are fair and reasonable to them we expect businesses to be fair and reasonable to the country.
“I should alert the honourable chamber that we have met with the Minimum Wages Board – a tripartite construct that is tasked with advising the Minister responsible for labour with recommendations on the level of minimum wage and how or if it should be adjusted.
“We have met the Minimum Wage Board including independent representatives, representatives from the business community – employers and representatives from workers’ organisations. We have indicated to them that Government is moving forward with the process of revising upward the minimum wage for workers in Barbados; that is a commitment we made to the people of this country; it is a commitment we intend to keep,” Jordan told the House of Assembly.
The Minister said that in the same vein that Government was passing laws in order to ease businesses by writing off taxes and waving penalties that he is hopeful that businesses will extend such “fairness” to employees.
“I raise it now… as we speak about fairness. As we as a Government demonstrates that fairness by writing off certain debts and waving interests and penalties on others we are saying to businesses and employers in Barbados we are prepared to lead by example and we will set the tone for fairness and responsibility for those with whom we engage our social partners. But we also have to be fair to our people.”
Addressing the business community, Jordan said: “Our 2018 manifesto is the people’s manifesto and in that manifesto, we spoke to the matter of minimum wage. Since we came into office we have reduced corporation tax significantly from 25 per cent down — the maximum of five per cent. There are some businesses who will pay three per cent in corporation tax.
“We are saying to businesses in Barbados today that we expect them to come to the table and there is at present a conversation as it relates to increasing that minimum wage for Barbadian workers and we expect that we will get progress in that over the coming months. Businesses have to be fair to workers. This Barbados Labour Party Government was built out of the struggle of workers in this country.”