Too many low income earners exploited

Some employers in Barbados are taking advantage of persons in desperate circumstances and paying them wages far below what is reasonable, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss charged yesterday.

Inniss made the comment in the House of Assembly while piloting a Minimum Wage Bill that repeals the Wages Council Act and provides for the minister to be advised by a nine-member board comprising representatives of Government, workers and employers on minimum wage and conditions of work.

Though the minister indicated his remarks were not targeting any particular sector, he said, “One reality is that some of the domestic workers and shop assistants are not getting the kind of wages that is necessary for them to be able to provide for the basics in life.

“My own experience is that the majority of employers in Barbados are very fair and very reasonable . . . but we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend that there are not a few who, if left unchecked, would start to work towards creating the kind of cultural norm that we don’t want to permeate our society.”

He explained that the measure was not designed to set an island-wide minimum wage, but to mandate a living income in certain areas of employment.

“The proposed legislation does not fix or set minimum wages; it primarily seeks to establish a structure, an advisory board that will advise the minister as to how such wages ought to be determined.

“We’re simply saying that time has come for us to take this matter serious enough that we put an advisory board together to collect information, analyze information and give the minister the best possible advice as to what minimum wages should be in the respective sectors, as well as the terms and conditions that ought to apply to those to whom minimum wage is applicable,” Inniss told parliamentarians, stressing that the board would also advise on the minimum terms and conditions of service for any employee to whom the minimum wage applies.

He said the legislation would also make it mandatory for workers to be afforded such rights as lunch hours and work breaks, which he contended are often denied domestic workers and gardeners.

The proposed legislation also protects workers from employers who try to force them to take lower than acceptable wages by threatening to replace them with unemployed people willing to accept lesser pay, the minister explained.

“The state therefore has to intervene and say, ‘look notwithstanding the demand and supply issues in this particular sector, we have a duty to ensure that employers pay employees a wage that is not below what all indicators point to be the acceptable minimum wage,’” he stressed.

While not providing statistics to support his claim, Inniss said many Barbadians, particularly women, were “faced with such a situation and oftentimes feel themselves obligated to take that wage, because the alternative looks a lot grimmer.

“It is everybody’s business that we have the right kind of environment that protects not just the vulnerable but those at real risk for these things,” he said.

19 Responses to Too many low income earners exploited

  1. Hal Austin January 19, 2017 at 3:51 am

    This buffoon is at it again. As minister for commerce, international business, industry and small business development, no other minister has as broad an economic mandate as talkative Inniss.
    Throughout the developed world, small business create more jobs than the big multi-nationals, as minister of industry it is his job not only to improve the productivity of industry, but also to innovate, as minister of commerce his job is to balance the current account and as minister of international business again his job is to make Barbados attractive to foreign investors.
    In short, his role in the economy is just as central as the minister of finance.
    I know someone who is a director of a small, but growing British bank. This man, a Yorkshireman, loves Barbados and visits every year. His idea of Heaven is to watch Charlie Griffith and Wes Hall flowing in from both ends of a cricket pitch.
    Sometime ago I managed to persuade him to speak at a London conference sponsored by Invest Barbados, which he gladly agreed to.
    But, the big noises at Invest Barbados started going direct to him, cutting me out of the loop.
    Of course, this is how uncultured Barbadians think business is done, but this gentleman kept me informed. Eventually he dropped out.
    For this kind of unethical behaviour, read plagiarism, stealing ideas, making claims for initiatives that are not theirs.
    It is not encouraging.

    Reply
  2. Icenie Joseph
    Icenie Joseph January 19, 2017 at 6:53 am

    hmmm this thing was going on for so long and you know what because nobody doing anything about it they think that they have the right to do it .

    Reply
  3. Lennox hewitt January 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Election next year this is a election thing u now no that yearspeople did saying so so what u going do bout it make every employer raise the staff salary ?

    Reply
  4. Lennox hewitt January 19, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Now when u took up office that the first thing u shud of dun get salary raise people going home less than 250 a week i say less not 250 got bills rent then got men going home 19.000 + and now u comming to set up yur X .

    Reply
  5. Lennox hewitt January 19, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I feel the less money a man or woman should carry home when get pay is $325 .00 a week and everyone does get lunch time Innis and gardenners does get breaks cause no one does watcha gardenner all day .

    Reply
  6. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner January 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Wow he now wakeup this has been happening in Barbados for many a years and politicians from both political parties who have ever only govern has done squat about it,wonder what’s his ulterior movtives are.Labour and consumer protection in Barbados are garbage to say the least.

    Reply
  7. Patrina Drakes
    Patrina Drakes January 19, 2017 at 8:58 am

    For years this was going on. Like the merchant that has four building supply store in town and a big wutless hotel in Christ Church that when min wage was 5$ or6$/hr she paying $4.25. Hopeful it gone up cause this was two years ago. One place you will get a job is with her. Then you have places that pay 9/10 /12$ /hr but given you 25/28 hours got branches opening to 3o’clock and not providing transportation to the workers but got 15? stores now but can’t find money to get a van, bus or bicycle get home their they staff that are majority women. Or the checkouts that get the minimum wage and only get 28 hrs sometimes less. This happening in Barbados in 2017.

    Reply
  8. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar January 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

    That is the gospel. There is a Security Company G4S Who is Unionized , there is an agreed rate of pay for Security Officers, but this Company is recruiting Security Officers labelling them as STEWARD, paying them less than agreed via the Collective bargaining process, but demanding the same steward obtain a Security Guard license to function not as Steward but Security Officers. What is more a disaster, the Union is doing nothing about this gross exploitation. These people work under the most degrading condition of employment , 60 hours a week before over time . This is the most ridiculous agreement any union can support. Half hour for lunch after having to stand on their feet for the duration of a shift. Yes Mr. Minister this is exploitation in Barbados after 50 years of Independence .

    Reply
  9. Sisi Greenidge
    Sisi Greenidge January 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

    “At least yuh got a job, little pay is better than no pay,” I’d say it’s already a cultural norm.

    Reply
  10. Alex Alleyne January 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

    You need to lock-up employers who take out NIS money and then don’t pay it in.
    Add that to the “Legislation”.

    Reply
  11. Donild Trimp January 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

    There are people working in Barbados today for $125 a week.

    In 1968 there were people in Barbados working for $125 a month.

    This is known as slave wages and it is condoned by the people in power.

    Tell me something new.

    Reply
  12. jrsmith January 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

    PUT THE BLAME ON OUR UNTRUSTWORTHY POLITICIANS …….
    They allow lots of people to get away with not paying taxes in barbados, they know what is going on from day , they give loans to friends , friends , friends and families 100 of millions is owed to the Barbados treasury all because of politicians. ..

    Politicians are destructive people, what is worst politicians or the guns……you cannot bevel anything anyone of them say….

    Reply
  13. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba January 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    @ SISI SO BECAUSE U GET AH JOB, THE EMPLOYER SHOULD JUCK OUT UR EYE, SO WHEN U GET PAY IT TANTAMOUNT TO STIPEND PAY, COME ON…….THESE PEOPLE MAKES MILLIONS OFF THE BACK OF THE EMPLOYEES. BUT U KNOW WHAT THE STINKING UNIONS BWU/NUPW FOR YEARSSSSSSSSS LIVE HAPPY WITH THE EMPLOYERS….HUMMMMMMM

    Reply
  14. Steve L. Jemmott
    Steve L. Jemmott January 19, 2017 at 10:11 am

    All of a sudden , this is a revelation? The long drawn out “recession” made homage to exploitation on the pretext that things “BAD” , Brown and monies scarce, while fat cats can’t button the middle of the jacket. and expansion all around in certain sectors. All of a sudden this land is flowing with milk and honey- wonder what’s around the corner…..” jese on bread” say something palatable .

    Reply
  15. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba January 19, 2017 at 10:14 am

    DUMVILLE U ARE LATE, FIRST WHEN DE BIG NOSE BAPHOMET DECIDE TO TAKE AH 10% PAY CUT, WHAT DID U SAY DUMVILLE,……….DON’T TOUCH MY PAY, I HAVE AH CHILD TO SEND SCHOOL…U DIN’T CARE FOR WHO GET EXPLOIT OR NOT…..I SEE WHAT UR TRYING TO DO, NEXT DOWNGRADE DUMVILLE, NEXT DOWN GRADE

    Reply
  16. F.A.Rudder January 19, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Minister Inniss ! I could hear your grandmother applause you on these measures.

    Reply
  17. Helicopter(8P) January 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Yes people in Barbados within the Civil service sector did work at junior level for that salary but they were conservative and did not lavish at every unnecessary apparatus and electronic piece of toy as people of today do. The main essentials of life was the norm! A home, house, land and a vehicle was the set practice during the latte sixties.

    Reply
  18. Amiss January 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Worse yet, certain upscale restaurants (up on hills, looking over popular south coast beaches) are actually allowed by law to install cameras to keep their servers from keeping tips that were left for Them? And threatened to be fired ??? As if the slave-wages are not demeaning enough.
    Something very very wrong in Barbados Gov’t !!!!

    Reply
  19. Jennifer January 19, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    THE PLANTATION SYSTEM NEVER LEFT. This is why you get wages to sustain you with food, clothes and a shower, constantly rising every morning to serve with no rest in site. While the same task master owns your house in his banking system and your car. Then you retire feeling fully satisfied just like those good old plantation days. Guess who is to blame – THESE WELL EDUCATED PHARAOHS AND COCONUT COONS WHO SERVE TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY to keep you oppressed.

    Reply

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