Town Hall Meetings On Living/Minimum Wage

April 29, 2019 | 42 Comments

The Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports is inviting the public to attend a series of Town Hall Meetings to discuss a Minimum/Living Wage for Bermuda.

The Town Hall Meetings will take place:

  • Thursday, May 2, 2019 – St. George’s Cricket Club at 6.30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019 – St. Paul’s AME Centennial Hall at 6.30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 16, 2019 – Somerset Cricket Club at 6.30 p.m.

“The public will recall that the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo, recently announced that the Government is seeking to set up a Wage Commission to consult with key stakeholders regarding the establishment and implementation of a living/minimum wage,” a spokesperson said.

“This follows the tabling of a report by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee [JSC] last year on The Establishment of a Living/Minimum Wage Regime which listed the creation of a Wage Commission as one of its recommendations. A copy of the report can be found online on the citizens forum where the public can make comments about the report and proposal for living/minimum wage in Bermuda.

“The Commission will be responsible for conducting research, consulting and providing a report to the Minister on their work which will include recommendations for the establishment of a living/minimum wage.

“The Ministry is embarking on a public consultation process by facilitating a series of town hall meetings hosted by the Chairman of the JSC. The aim is to provide more information and discussion on the topic.

“Legislation is currently in the works to enable the creation of the Commission so that their work can begin. The panelists include Chairman of the JSC, Rolfe Commissioning, Chief Financial Officer at Anchor Investment Management Ltd., Nathan Kowalski, Statistician Cordell Riley, Lawyer Philip Perinchief and Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert.

The public is encouraged to attend and provide their comments and feedback.

The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee’s report on a Living Wage [PDF here]:

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Comments (42)

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  1. jake says:

    should be at least $50 and hour

    • And just to think we worked 400 years for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        You got your reparations in a nice gov’t job with benefits paid for by us who have had to deal with cutbacks and redundancies all the while taxes to pay for you have gone through the roof.
        Please say ‘thank you’ and you’ll not bring it up again .

        • Benefits were fought for and many suffered economically by those that were in position that think like you, but I guess you and others that think like you believe that employers woke up one morning and said, “we’re in a good mood so lets give workers benefits”!
          No moron, it came with a price and we will continue to maintain what was hard fought for, while the undeserved privileged gloat about their inherited social status.
          We came from working for FREE for 400 yesrs, to working with benefits, I call that progress.
          But for a PEOPLE to be at a disadvantage for so long and STILL compete with the odds stacked against them, speaks volumes.
          But yet still we RISE.

          • Moor says:

            Still going with that 400 year myth? You’re an old lying hater. Our people are embarrassed by people like you. You make us look ignorant.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            yawn

      • wahoo says:

        How ’bout we get reparations for all de times we see you sitting talking while we are paying you with our tax dollar?

        • Yup, like our polititians getting paid twice as much and sleeping in de house.
          So we have a few hundred years of getting paid for sitting and talking to break even.

          • question says:

            I know what you mean. Like the incompetent politicians who forgot about a deadline and got us on a tax blacklist, threatening our entire economy. Yeah I’m mad about that too.

          • Joe Bloggs says:

            “So we have a few hundred years of getting paid for sitting and talking to break even.”

            Who will pay you, OJ?

            Do you really think business people will remain in Bermuda now that you have declared that as the PLP Government policy?

    • Miss Smith says:

      Make it $100 an hour and everyone will be rich. Why doesn’t government just get on with it?

  2. inna says:

    Another plan for a plan to make a plan!

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    The result is a foregone conclusion. This is fulfillment of an election promise.

    The real question is what will the “living wage” be and how much additional strain will it place on the economy? Will it drive small businesses into bankruptcy? Will it drive international businesses out of Bermuda? Those are the big questions for me.

    • Deedee says:

      May 2019 – $12.50
      May 2020 – $18.23

    • Bertram says:

      Bermuda’s high cost of living caused by Government choices.

      There is no anti-monopoly law, so many monopolies just charge whatever they want with no competitors to worry about.

      The 60-40 rule makes it almost impossible for businesses to get foreign investors. This kills any potential for competition to exist in Bermuda. There are even more laws to directly block foreign competition – milk and carrot imports are banned, McDonald’s is banned, all to drive up food prices.

      The dentists, lawyers and even the tennis coaches get to veto their competitor’s work permits, to restrict competition even more and protect their high prices.

      The import duties of 20-30% make everything more expensive.

      Those are choices the Government has made. Bermuda wouldn’t need a minimum wage (which will cost some people their jobs because their employers won’t be able to afford to pay them), if the Government changed their policies.

      So if you lose your job next year because your boss can’t pay you $18.23 an hour, just remember — this is what the people you elected did to you.

      • Deedee says:

        Appreciate your response.

        For a long time we have been an import tax and tariff nation.
        If I buy a box of kellogs cereal, the reason why its so high at $8,9 is because i had to pay 4 or 5 people with their margins on top (marketplace -> B&V -> Gov’t -> kellogs manufac. -> shipping etc).

        Point is no one is focusing enough on the bottom half, the cost side. There are 0 cost controls, 0 consumer protection. bermuda is even expansive compared to other similar import island nations.

        I think its import to look at changing the structure of our economy so that we remain competitive, we are not pricing out our own citizens, and more social services$ flows back to people who need.

  4. These “clowns” want to increase land tax but you cannot depend on bus service to or from it…or compitent trash pick up from it…so why tax land at all?

  5. Stinky D. says:

    I went to the last one
    Total waste of time they don’t want the public’s input
    They are going to do whatever they feel like

    • sandgrownan says:

      Dancing around the real issue…..not enough money circulating in the local economy.

  6. Trufth says:

    A simple question:

    If I am forced to increase my employees’ wages, where will that money come from?

    A.) I will have to raise the price of my product to cover that increase.
    B.) I will have to fire some of my employees or make everyone part-time.
    C.) I will have to go out of business and fire ALL of my employees.
    D.) All of the above.

    • Portia says:

      If you can only manage to stay in business by paying your workers sub-par wages, then you don’t deserve to be in business.

      • question says:

        In which case the workers will lose their jobs, even if they would have preferred to voluntarily remain employed.

      • wahoo says:

        You are missing the point…..I think. Some is better than none for everyone (I just made that up). This island is in the trouble it is now because our present government, unions and many voters do not understand basic economics. If “Trufth” has a rise in his cost of doing business then he raises his price to the consumer then the consumer either stops buying ya boys product or they negotiate for more pay from their employer – inflation, I think they call this. If they just stop buying the product him and his employees are all out of a job.

        How about we institute a “minimum effort” clause on the employees? If the employee does not provide a minimum of effort/time then they do not deserve to have a job….

        • sage says:

          A computer chip implant that detects work (force x distance) or ‘effort’ as you say would be really great, since it would reveal how little or no effort being put in by all, the levels for upper management would be very interesting, maybe the huge disparity between blue and white collar workers would shrink.

          • Wahoo says:

            So construction bosses and doctor’s should be more sympathetic to the workers? Nice bring that up at the next meeting. Communism sounds great on paper. BTW I am not the champagne and caviar person.

      • 2 Bermudas says:

        Question: Is this a job killer or a job maker?

    • sage says:

      Of course not, you could cut your champagne and caviar budget by 10%.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Sadly, those are the kind of economic questions the PLP Government will not answer. It is the same problem that exists with price controls.

      If DeeDee is correct (above) most Bermuda businesses will probably survive the first year (minimum wage of $12.50). The second year is a problem. A year on year increase in gross wages of 45.84% will have to mean an increase in the consumer. That means that the cost of a construction labourer, for example, will go from roughly $27 per hour to roughly $37 per hour.

      Anyone building a new house at the moment?

      • Deedee says:

        “If DeeDee is correct (above) most Bermuda businesses will probably survive the first year (minimum wage of $12.50). ”

        Yeah those numbers are straight from the Living Wage report

  7. Dready says:

    Go for it PLP. It will increase unemployment, raise the costs of doing business, raise the costs of goods and materials. Go for it!

  8. jake says:

    well you will have to fire the call “not feelin too sharp today” people.and the usual lazy crew

  9. Luke says:

    So somone who stacks shelves in a supermarket should earn as much as an electrician or plumer who listened at school and went to college lol logic

  10. ROBERT STEWART says:

    A legislated wage increase has to be paid for. There are 4 principal ways of doing this:
    1. Prices are increased to the public in the industry in which the wage increase takes place.
    2. Employers meet the cost, and as a consequence their incomes are reduced – this may drive them out of business.
    3. The productivity of employees is increased – they become more efficient.
    4. A combination of the other 3 points.

    The evidence from most parts of the world is that productivity is enhanced by enhanced technology. For example, gas station attendants are replaced by self-service: or restaurants reduce staff so that customers wait longer. Who remembers bell hops at hotels.

    There is compelling evidence from almost everywhere that the burden of costs are mainly met by younger workers with little experience and limited education who are the first to be let go, or they never get hired in the first place.

    As a general rule they are workers with poor education, limited skills, or are otherwise deficient in the skill sets required by an employer.

    It ought to be obvious that a living wage law will hurt most the very people they are designed to “protect. When a law exists that no one is to be paid less than the legal living wage, then no one whose services are not worth that amount to an employer will be employed at all.

    We cannot make a person worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him less. We merely deprive him or her of the right to earn the amount that their abilities and opportunities would permit them to earn, while we deprive the community of the moderate services they are capable of rendering.

    In brief, for a low wage we substitute unemployment. When that unemployment arises I hope those responsible for it will confess their limited knowledge of what a living wage will lead to.

    To put it bluntly, a living wage will penalise the most vulnerable workers in Bermuda who are largely young, black males, with limited education and social skills.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “It ought to be obvious that a living wage law will hurt most the very people they are designed to “protect. When a law exists that no one is to be paid less than the legal living wage, then no one whose services are not worth that amount to an employer will be employed at all.”

      Agreed. But that is a medium to long term view. In the short term, the PLP Government will appear to be making real change in socio-economic conditions in Bermuda in advance of the elections due in 3 years. The real consequences of a “Living Wage” will not be unmistakable (though they will be felt) before that time.

      Better yet, leading economists predict a world-wide economic downturn in 2021 or 2022, so the PLP Government can blame the job losses on external factors and continue to pretend that the “Living Wage” is a good thing for previously disadvantaged Bermudians.

      • ROBERT STEWART says:

        you are right Joe. short term thinking is an ace in politics.

  11. Aranda pitt says:

    Why can’t these meetings be held in neutral places like school assembly halls. Paying to host meetings at churches and preferred sporting clubs just reeks of PLP continuing to cater to a certain segment of people.

  12. Obviously says:

    You were obviously at the Alaska Hall meeting on November minimum wage! Well reported!

  13. jake says:

    will the colonel be there to stare us down?

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