23 Mar 2012

National minimum wage in Fiji to protect vulnerable workers

8:50 am on 23 March 2012

The chairperson of the Fiji Wages Council says the introduction of a national minimum wage will most impact those who currently have no wage protection.

The Labour Ministry is planning to put in place a minimum wage by the end of this year, which would be a first for a Pacific country.

Father Kevin Barr says there are currently 10 wage councils that represent the major industries in Fiji.

He says they cover about 60 percent of the workforce, while unions cover about 30 percent, and says it's the 10 percent who fall through the cracks that the introduction of a minimum wage will benefit most.

"For some people it should be a significant rise for example people who are domestic workers if they are getting just a pittance, to have a national minimum wage will mean that their wage will increase significantly."

Father Kevin Barr says a bigger issue is that even those workers currently covered by the wages councils are all earning below the poverty line.