The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has renewed its call for the private sector minimum wage to be increased and for private sector employers to follow the government’s footsteps and give their workers a pay increase.
The Federation registered its disappointment over the fact that with the recent increase approved by Government, the disparity between the two wages has widened to $30,700 per month explaining that private-sector employees at the national minimum wage level must now work some two (2) months before they earn what their counterparts earn in the public sector.
Shortly after assuming office last year, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton had committed to signing the order to raise the private sector minimum wage, which remains $44,200, since it was last increased in 2017.
Although there was said to be an agreement on the issue between the government, private sector and labour stakeholders, the private sector has since voiced concerns about the move, particularly in light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
FITUG also noted the global effects of the pandemic and said workers must be compensated for working throughout the pandemic to make their business successful for their employees.
“Undoubtedly, the COVID pandemic, from all appearances, had little impact and we congratulate the business sector on its achievement. We also cannot ignore that the successes recorded cannot and we daresay should not be delinked from the efforts of the employees of those businesses. Indeed, many businesses do not exist on their own but are supported by their employees. Undoubtedly, those employees should benefit from the successes their firms enjoy,” the Trade Union said in a statement.
The Government recently announced a 7% across the board retroactive salary increase for public servants and while FITUG says it has concerns with that increase, it also wants that private-sector employers to offer no less than 7% to their employees.
“It is our considered view that it allows private businesses to continue to attract and retain skills to sustain their operations while seeking to alleviate some of the burdens their employees are fetching currently,” FITUG said.