Letang questions genuineness of minimum wage tripartite committee appointment

Months after recommendations were made by a tripartite committee appointed to review the minimum wage in Dominica, the government has yet to respond to the proposals put forward by the team, according to General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), Thomas Letang.

This has caused the DPSU official to consider if the questions being asked as to whether the move was just an election gimmick, are legitimate.

Being a very strong advocate for the increase of Dominica’s minimum wage, Letang said he was elated that the union was part of the committee which was established shortly before the 2019 General Election. However, he expressed disappointment that months later, nothing has been done with those recommendations.

“That tripartite committee which was appointed, consisted of the private sector, the government and the union and our job was to do the research and put forward a proposal to the Minister of Labour as to what we think it should be,” he told Dominica News Online (DNO). “That was done and the report of that  committee was submitted to the Minister and signed by all the representatives who formed part of that committee and as I speak to you now, we have not heard or received any response or reaction  from the Minister responsible for labour.”

While he remained tight lipped over the figure which was proposed, Letang disclosed that the committee did recommend to the government that the minimum wage be reviewed every three years.

“People are now asking the question whether the appointment of that committee just before election, whether it was just not the intention and whether anything serious is going to come from this,” The DPSU General Secretary noted. “I can not be the judge from that but I am just saying that is the comment people have been saying. They have also pointed that it may be another long wait before we see any action as it relates to our minimum wage.”

Responding to the widely-used comment that no individual on the island gets paid the minimum wage, Letang pointed out that while a vast majority may earn more than the minimum wage, it’s only because their employers choose to pay them more. However, he noted that there are still some workers who get paid that amount.

He appealed to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to honor his commitment.

“Sir, you appointed a committee to do some work. We kept to your mandate; we did the work. The recommendations have been submitted to you for some time now, please go ahead, do the right thing and let this thing become legal and let every Dominican see that the minimum wage has been increased,” Letang stated.

In his 2019 Budget presentation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced that in keeping with the Labour Standards Act, an an advisory board would be appointed in August that year to advise on the setting of a minimum wage, and “to submit recommendations to the Minister”.

“Let me make it very clear, Madam Speaker, that this Government pays all of its employees above  the minimum wage. We recognise however, that we cannot unilaterally impose an increase in the  minimum wage on the country,” the prime minister stated. “This is something that requires discussion with stakeholders,  including trade unions, employers and other stakeholders.  An increase in wages is something that employers will have to factor into their cost of doing  business and it is critical that the employer be allowed time to make the necessary adjustments.  We propose that the new rates developed after consultation will take effect on or before January  2020.”

Dominica’s minimum wage, which was last reviewed and increased in June 2008, is EC$4.05 per hour and is among the lowest in the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

DNO made several attempts to speak with the officials from the Ministries of Labour and Finance without success. We left messages but our phone calls were not returned.

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9 Comments

  1. Daily Bugle
    October 3, 2020

    Minimum wage only matters when you are operating at the most basic level or doing jobs that are easily replicated. If the value you offer is not minimum, you will never earn minimum wage no matter which country you work. Also, you can’t force the minimum wage up with no external evidence that it needs to be increased such as rise in GDP, increased circulation of cash, higher net surplus of trade etc.

  2. click here
    October 1, 2020

    Just like the “marijuana industry” they mention in the last 2-3 elections. To this day police still arresting people for a joint. Fool yourselves still people. Continue to be their sheep. Not me they can kyoneh again. Until i see it i not believing anything from them. and even then you have to keep an eye on them because their motives are never usually only for the benefit of the people. They have to fill their belly first before they sharing anything.

  3. We the youth are not our ancestors
    October 1, 2020

    Carrots before a Donkey, the only thing is the Donkey won’t get the carrot a the end of the trip but a promise of a bigger one later. Dominicans has lost its spirit of being an independent nation, we use to protest by the thousands to prevent and oppose corruption and broken promises, w use to fight for our rights, we use to KNOW our rights. Those days are gone, now we beg every nation for things we have the ability to produce ourselves through hard work, roads, bridges, a shelter for the less fortunate. We look on with an expression of sympathy for our homeless and disaster misplaced citizens and with the same breath praise our government for awarding a prime minister with a lavish lifestyle for doing the bare minimum. People suffer whilst the rich toast to profits gained. Make no mistake, the minimum wage will not go up anytime soon, and when it does it won’t cross $5.00 ec more than it is already. The cost of living will increase make no mistake about that, but the minimum wage…

  4. RoRo
    October 1, 2020

    …once again Letang and the public servants are being fooled by Skerrit. When are ALL you gonna stop this nonsense and kick the Dictator and his cabal out!

  5. Ibo France
    October 1, 2020

    Mr. Letang sits back and waits for things to happen. That sort of leadership will not bear fruits in this kind of unyielding environment. The DPSU needs an astute, proactive, no nonsense leader who says what he means and means what he says. No matter what measuring instrument you use Mr. Letsng has failed the public servants BIG TIME.

  6. Not A Herd Follower
    September 30, 2020

    It is typical of Skerrit’s modus operandi to set committees to give the impression he is doing something about addressing or resolving issues and do nothing about the issues after the committees have done their work.

  7. Ibo France
    September 30, 2020

    Anything that is said or done by Mr. Skerrit is self-serving. Just before a general election promises of international airport, geothermal energy, appointments to the public service, increase in salaries, wages and pension, new roads and bridges, and an increase in the minimum wage are just a subterfuge.. This is his modus operandi which leaves the people emotionally bruised and scarred as it’s all a false concoction for political advantageousness. .

    Mr. Letang should be fired. He is all bark and no bite. Skerrit realizes this and plays him like a saxophone. To Skerrit, Mr. Letang is his favorite pet kitten.

    Nothing good comes easy. The beleaguered public servants will have to take the bull by the horns and fight rigorously for their long overdue increase.

    Don’t believe any word that is uttered by the habitual LIAR. He stretches credulity

  8. L C Matthew
    September 30, 2020

    Letang you guys don’t realize by now this government is all about creating false and unrealistic impressions to hide thier incompetence!!! After Maria Jamaica defense force commander did a review. Public never saw changes never implemented. Now commisioner is alledged to to be running a pyramid scheme while we have a FIU unit within the force. I hope all those who gained income report to the state and pay taxes. We have had 3 consultation on electoral reform. What has been result. Now we are sending for what we think is judicial god in Caribbean to do again only for impression. We have spent millions on geothermal for bragging and impression. Money for university but no jobs so ministers tell kids don’t come back. I can go on and on. You guys hard at learning.

  9. Bwa-Banday
    September 30, 2020

    Alas, Letang still believes in the Supreme leader regardless of the all the blablahing he does on the side when its convenient for him. Right now it even seems like there is no difference in the way Letang and Skerro operate…promises, promises, promises and blame others when they did not keep their own promise. Imagine that!!

    Letang is no fool but he has overstayed his welcome at DPSU and its time for a New Generation Union leader who will shake up the union and bring back some good old militancy with results. Boy do I miss the days when Charlo was leader of CSA :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . No nonsense union leader even if he turned out to be a darn crook :mrgreen: :mrgreen: in the long run.

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