29 Sep 2005

Vanuatu union says minimum wage rise too small

3:46 pm on 29 September 2005

Vanuatu unions say the increase of the minimum monthly wage to 200 US dollar is not enough.

The secretary of the National Union of Workers, Ephraim Kalsakau, says nevertheless the union has agreed to the rise after the pay rate had been stagnant at 160 US dollars for ten years.

Mr Kalsakau says politics is one of the reasons it took a decade to introduce the new wage.

"You usually find is, it is getting through just before an election and you see what is happening now in Vanuatu heading for municipal elections next month and the second reason, which is sad, is that people in this country do not really know their rights."

He says according to a union survey undertaken in 2000, the minimum that a family in Port Vila needs to survive is 600 US dollars.