St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has urged business owners to conduct a review of the conditions of work for employees, and where practical, to follow the government’s example by increasing salaries and wages for workers.
Dr. Harris’ statement was made on Tuesday (May 24) on the eve of a 10 percent pay hike for civil servants and government pensioners.
“We would encourage every private-sector employer who can do likewise to basically be generous in their determination of the conditions of work for their employees,” he said on the debut edition of the On the Point podcast with Newrish Nital.
While some are suggesting an increase in the Federal minimum wage which currently stands at $9 per hour, Dr. Harris, who also is the Minister of Finance, said that this cannot be done without extensive stakeholder consultations.
“… The private sector pay scale and the government’s pay scale are different,” Prime Minister Harris expressed. “I believe that everyone really can do well with an increase at this particular moment in time, but I do not have the authority to impose it (a wage increase) upon private sector entities. Nor do I have access to their books to determine whether they can carry that additional wage bill. They will have to make that assessment, and I hope very shortly that they will do so.”
Any review of the minimum wages has to be discussed by the National Tripartite Committee. The committee comprises representatives from the public sector, private sector and workers union. The committee’s structure and operations are largely guided by best practices outlined by the International Labour Organization (ILO).