Criticism Over Minimum Wage Increase Sparks Debate

The Coalition Government’s decision to increase the National Minimum Wage by 50 cents from August 1, followed by another 50 cents increase next April, has been met with criticism from the Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu.

In Parliament yesterday, Mr. Seruiratu, during his budget response, asserted that workers at the lower end of the employment spectrum deserve a living wage.

“The lift in minimum wages is welcome, but many workers believe that the 50 cents increase is far short of compensating them for the significant increases in prices for basic goods, food items, and services,” Mr. Seruiratu said.

“The continued rise in the cost of living is something that Government should be concerned about. In April, our inflation rate – the rate at which the prices of goods and services have increased – rose to 7.1 per cent, which according to newspaper reports, was the highest observed in the last 10 years.

“It has been noted that the rise in prices has largely been due to the VAT increase introduced in the previous year’s budget.”

He emphasized that once the prices of goods increase, reversing the price hike would be challenging.

“The reluctance of Government to reduce VAT from 15 per cent to nine per cent in the current budget to help relieve citizens from the high cost of living is a concern. This demonstrates the Government’s lack of compassion for the underprivileged within our communities.

“When prices increase, the losers will always be the poor, as they will become poorer, while the rich get richer.”

Popular Categories

Latest News

Search the website