The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council warns there will be disruptions to the industry as they start implementing the minimum wage rate in phases.
The first phase of the national minimum wage rate increased from $2.68 to $3.01 an hour last month.
Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council President Michael Towler says the Council members are expecting a challenging year ahead.
“All our members have actually implemented the first phase which wasn’t much of a difficult situation because a lot of our staff were already over the first increment but it’s a big challenge for our members throughout this year. It’s going to cause quite a lot of disruption to our industry because we have to realign all our pricing relating to the minimum wage rate.”
Towler states the Council was not prepared for such an increase.
“We were expecting somewhere around $3.40 to $3.60 mark and even that was going to be somewhat a challenge for us because the national minimum wage rate is the floor so everybody else wages has to be adjusted up from the floor. We didn’t expect $4 to be the floor so that was a big surprise.”
However, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation says the increase was necessary.
Chief Executive Kameli Batiweti says the difficult part is how the members roll out the implementation.
The second phase will be implemented in two months, with the third to be in effect from October, while the final minimum wage rate of $4 will be implemented in January.