It has been proposed that employers be given a two-month period to review their budgets before the agreed adjustment to the national minimum wage for this year takes effect.This recommendation comes from Chairman of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, Silvera Castro, who said employers would need adequate time to make their own adjustments to “assist the process”.Mr. Silvera was addressing the final in a series of islandwide consultations on the national minimum wage, at the North Street Offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in downtown Kingston on July 13.The Chairman said this is one of the recommendations that will be made in the Commission’s report, which is to be submitted to portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, by the end of August/early September.The Minister will then take the document to Cabinet for approval, after which it will be presented to the House of Representatives.In the meantime, representative for the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) on the Commission, Bernita Locke, said the Federation endorses full compliance with the national minimum wage for all eligible groups.“The JEF will continue to encourage its members to support any increase to the minimum wage once that is given,” she said.Mrs. Locke noted, however, that employers’ ability to pay the increase should also be taken into consideration.She further called on the Government, as did several other contributors, to re-establish the Joint Industrial Council for private security guards, which would comprise representatives of the Labour Ministry, trade unions and security companies.For his part, Manager, Human and Community Development Unit, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Steven Kerr, proposed a seven per cent increase in the national minimum wage.This would see minimum-wage earners receiving an additional sum of $434 per 40-hour workweek.Most of the suggested increases by other contributors ranged between seven and 10 per cent. Submissions were made by representatives of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU); the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees; Jamaica Household Workers Union; Jamaica Society for Industrial Security; the Bureau of Gender Affairs, and other interest groups.In 2016, the national minimum wage was increased from $5,600 per week to $6,200 for a 40-hour workweek.The minimum wage for industrial security guards was also increased from $204.97 per hour to $221.35 per hour for a 40-hour work week.The Minimum Wage Advisory Commission is comprised of representatives of the Government, trade unions and employers’ groups, and is mandated to review the rates annually.It conducts consultations in keeping with the Minimum Wage Act, and recommends minimum rates for groups of wage earners who do not have the bargaining power to negotiate for fair wages.The other consultations for this year were held in St. James, Manchester, Ocho Rios and Portland.
Its implementation is being spearheaded by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in collaboration with several key local, regional and international stakeholders. Story Highlights Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has endorsed a CARICOM-led initiative aimed at reducing lifestyle diseases across the Caribbean through improved diets. Speaking during a project workshop at The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, New Kingston, on March 21, Dr. Tufton said the initiative is critical in engendering an appreciation among Caribbean residents of the need for and factors underpinning good health and wellness. Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has endorsed a CARICOM-led initiative aimed at reducing lifestyle diseases across the Caribbean through improved diets.The four-year project, dubbed ‘Improving Household Nutrition Security and Public Health in CARICOM’, will feature coordinated interventions within national food systems that promote sustainable livelihoods of vulnerable groups, in order to combat obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs).Its implementation is being spearheaded by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in collaboration with several key local, regional and international stakeholders.The initiative is intended to build shared understanding from research undertaken about the frameworks and systems driving food production and consumption throughout the region.Speaking during a project workshop at The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, New Kingston, on March 21, Dr. Tufton said the initiative is critical in engendering an appreciation among Caribbean residents of the need for and factors underpinning good health and wellness.“What we are setting out to do is fundamental and critical,” he said, adding that the information provided by the researchers should be used to develop a strategy that will have the “most meaningful impact on behavioural change”.In this regard, the Minister emphasised the importance of utilising marketing and the requisite resources that can and will greatly influence the initiative’s resonance among individuals.Dr. Tufton said the project is also timely in light of the fact that policymakers have been using and will continue to use data to advocate for regulatory frameworks for anticipated changes to provisions addressing preventable diseases.The initiative, which runs from 2018 to 2022, will see Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre and Deputy Dean for Research and Graduate Programmes, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, Professor Alafia Samuels, serving as Principal Investigator.Professor Samuels will be supported by researchers from the UWI’s three campuses – Mona, St. Andrew; St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; and Cave Hill.Inputs and support will also be provided by representatives of the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech); the United Kingdom-based Cambridge University; McGill University in Canada; and several other regional organisations.