By Aaron Humes: The five-dollar-an-hour minimum wage for workers is coming – but not all at once.
Following through on Cabinet’s request that the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour, and Local Government develop a plan for gradual implementation of the Government’s #PlanBelize commitment, the Ministry has announced the appointment of a Minimum Wage Task Force to oversee the implementation which met at the Ministry’s office today in Belmopan.
The membership includes chair Cindy Thompson representing the University of Belize; Daniel Gutierrez, Consultant to the National Gas Company Limited and representing the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Carlesha Francisco of the National Bank of Belize; Fayne Nicasio representing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; Luke Martinez, president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and representing labour, trade unions, and civil society; Candice Soutar of the Central Bank of Belize; and Labour Commissioner Anne Marie Thompson, representing the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government. These span workers, employers, and the government.
As noted by the Ministry, the current minimum wage is $3.30 per hour, phased in over five years between 2007 and May 8, 2012 when the last raise took effect. It has remained the same ever since until this current reassessment, from which a plan will be developed to institute a similar phased increase.
The Government’s release concludes, “The government recognizes that any increase to the present minimum wage would have implications for various sectors. As a result, the phased minimum wage increases must be linked to productivity growth and Belize’s competitiveness. With stakeholder input, careful consideration will be given to the impact of these increases on the various sectors of the economy in the short-, medium- and long-term.”