Hours after President Dr Irfaan Ali announced the cabinet’s approval of the $60,000 minimum wage, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Paul Cheong, is calling for the increase to be reviewed periodically.
Cheong told the News Room that the periodic review should be done based on the cost of living and inflation.
“I think this is a good thing and it should be reviewed periodically based on what is going on with inflation, cost of living, and so on,” Cheong told the News Room during a telephone interview on Friday.
Cheong said that businesses can see the increase as an investment. He explained that when employees are comfortable, they are motivated to improve performance resulting in overall improved services.
“This is everybody’s business for businesses so it will allow businesses to grow and develop, they can employ more people and also offer better wages and salaries,” Cheong said.
He added, “We know that many of the private sector companies already pay this as the minimum wage.”
When contacted, Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton said he will meet with Attorney General Anil Nandlall in the new week before issuing the order that will bring the increased wage into effect.
“If I want it to be done expeditiously, I will have to be guided by the legal side and what I know is that the earliest, I will issue the order,” Hamilton told the News Room.
The minimum wage was increased to $44,200 in 2017 from $35,000.
In 2019, a National Tripartite Committee (NTC) that was tasked with several labour-related matters between the government and business sector proposed the $60,000 minimum increase in wages for people working in the private sector.
It was only in December 2021 that the PSC announced that the NTC recommended the $60,000 increase.
Businesses have complained of financial injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had asked for time before the adjustment could be implemented.
On Labour Day this year, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITUG) and its affiliate, the Guyana Agricultural and Workers Union (GAWU), used the May Day rally to call for the immediate implementation of the $60,000 minimum wage.
President of FITUG Carvil Duncan had decried the delay in applying the increase, noting that the issue has now been compounded by an increase in the cost of living.