Wage rate causes more stress on certain industries

March 4, 2024 6:45 am

Lyndhurst Finance General Manager Kiran Khatri has raised concerns regarding the minimum wage rate in Fiji.

She states that it should reflect the living wage rate and be uniform across all industries.

Speaking during a talanoa session organized by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation in Suva, Khatri highlighted that the current practice of setting sectoral wages at $4 is placing certain industries under stress due to their lower minimum wage rates.

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According to Khatri, this disparity is leading to difficulties in attracting workers to these industries.

‘So people don’t work in those industries, like the garment industry. They got the lowest minimum wage rate, right? So I think the individual positions with different pay rates should be left to the market and the Government should only decide their living wage rates, which is the minimum wage rate.’

Khatri proposes that the market be allowed to establish the proper pay rates for individual positions since this would streamline the procedure and enable a competitive and equitable compensation structure.

Minister for Employment Agni Deo Singh addresses these worries by defending the practice of sectoral pay fixing and claiming that it ensures workers receive fair compensation.

“They are already paying well above average to retain their workers. So we need to make sure that we are able to retain our workers, that’s the purpose. We are bringing back those ten wage councils.”

The argument over Fiji’s minimum wage is a reflection of larger discussions about living expenses and economic inequality. A major difficulty going forward is striking a balance between market forces and making sure workers are fairly compensated.