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“Commerce Commission and Minimum Wage Rates”. Letters to Editor, 27 Feb 2014. (not published)

04/03/2014

Letter to Editor (The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Island Business, Republika)
27 February 2014 (apppeared 9 March 2014)

Dr Mahendra Reddy and Minimum Wage Rates

Dear Sir/Madam

Some months ago, the public will remember, and especially the large audience that gathered at the Fiji National University Campus, that Dr Mahendra Reddy stated that  his determination of the $2.32 per hour Minimum Wages for all Fiji was backed by detailed “scientific and objective” analysis and international methodology.

I had replied that there were some industrial sectors in Fiji which could not survive even that wage rate, while there were others that could well pay more but would use that rate to refuse further increases for the workers.

I also pointed out that my analysis of the operations of the Wages Councils for thirty years clearly showed that employers had continuously placed unfair pressure on Ministers, by going behind the back of the Chairmen of the Wages Councils (as with Father Kevin Barr over the last five years) and either postponing the new Wages Regulation Orders for higher sectoral wages, or simply arbitrarily giving only a proportion of that stipulated, with the result that real wages of these workers declined.

Recently, the Minister for Labour reduced the Minimum Wages from Dr Reddy’s “scientific” judgement of $2.32 to $2.00 per hour.

Dr Reddy has made no public statement.

Can Dr Reddy please explain his reaction to this “interference” with his original stipulation of $2.32 per hour?

Yours sincerely

Professor Wadan Narsey

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