Minimum Wage task force looking for fair new level
Friday, 08 September 2006, The Reporter
The Belize Labour Department announced this week the Belize Minimum Wages Council will commence its field work with visits to workplaces around the country, holding discussions with empl-oyers, workers, and selected members of the public to prepare a minimum wage package for the country.
The nine-member Council, made up of an equal number of employers, workers, and government representatives, was appointed by Minister of Labour Francis Fonseca to undertake a revision of all minimum wages, and to determine whether there should be one rate for all categories.
The Council will complete regulation proposals and recommendations to the minister by the end of December 2006.
Carlos Santos is the Chairman of the Council.
In arriving at its recommendations, the Council must take into account:
* The needs of workers and their families
* The general level of wages in the country
* The cost of living
* Social Security benefits
* Living standards as these relate to the various social groups, and other economic factors, such as:
• investment climate
• level of productivity
• employers’ capacity to pay, etc.
The field work will validate, through personal conversations and discussions with employers and workers, information gathered from the available statistics and will enable the Council to see first-hand the various workplaces and the conditions under which people are working.
The Council has held discussions with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau. It will also dialogue with the various trade unions, the Women’s Issues Network and conduct one-on-one meetings with domestic workers, shop assistants, agricultural field workers, and other non-unionized and vulnerable sections of the population.
The last minimum wage adjustment was in 2002. At that revision shop assistants and domestic helpers were to be paid at least $2.25 an hour or $20.00 for an 8-hour day. Students and manual workers employed in agriculture, agro-industry or export-oriented industries were to be paid at least $2.00 an hour or $16.00 for an 8 hour day.
The Council invites the cooperation of all employers, workers, and the public in helping to arrive at fair, just, and equitable recommendations in the interest of Belize.