Private sector not opposed to minimum wage, says Abed
The private sector here is “fully in favour” of the yet to be constituted minimum wages board proposed in the Minimum Wages Bill, approved by the Senate yesterday.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eddy Abed said as long as all the relevant interest groups were included, the business community would wholeheartedly back the board, which is to advise Government on minimum wage.
“If it is constituted with all stakeholders, and I believe that it is mandated to, then we are fully in favour of it. The private sector in this country has asked that it would like to have some input regarding wages especially at a time when we are talking about productivity and ensuring that we have a competitive workforce,” Abed told Barbados TODAY.
Minister of Labour Esther Byer-Suckoo told the Senate yesterday the board would be comprised of nine members – three each representing employers and employees and three appointed by the Minister of Labour.
It will be expected to make recommendations on the options of either a national minimum wage or a sectoral minimum, based on prevailing social and economic conditions.
While the scope of the board was being discussed, Abed said the timing was ideal, as the nation was focusing more seriously on productivity and competitiveness.
And although it is still in the conception stage, the longstanding businessman already knows what he wants the board to tackle.
“We are looking at productivity, we are looking at incentives, we are looking at the level of competition of our workforce versus the rest of the Caribbean and the wider region as well,” he explained.
Abed also sought to dismiss any suggestions that the business community was opposed to minimum wage, stressing that policymakers, businessmen and the entire country needed to look at the big picture, including the livelihood of every Barbadian.