Minimum wage consultation: ‘Make call, be realistic’

Fijian currency. Picture: FT FILE

GOVERNMENT needs to make a decision and trade unions need to be realistic when it comes to negotiating a national minimum wage, says a human resources practitioner.

During a consultation on the national minimum wage in Lautoka yesterday, expatriate Kelly Hart said it was unreasonable for anyone to expect a company to go from providing a minimum wage of $2.80 to $4 an hour overnight.

Ms Hart said a lot of companies, including the one she was employed at, were already working towards the $4 an hour rate that trade unions were calling for.

“Right now we are paying $3.70 an hour, we are moving towards $4 an hour,” she said.

“But for me to be able to give them all another pay increase, the board is saying to me ‘what is the Government recommending’ and I have told them we are ahead of the Government.

“So they are asking me to hold off from spending more money increasing wages when the Government has said we don’t have to.

“This is where Government is holding things back, they need to talk to the unions and come to an agreement. And the unions need to be realistic, you are not going to get an increase from $2.80 to $4 an hour in an instant, that’s life.

“They need to come together and be locked in a room until they reach an agreement that is sustainable for business and effective for workers.”

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