Living wage needed more than ever, says union leader – Eye Witness News

TUC to ‘propose something’ to government on living wage

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As the cost of living continues to rise, Obie Ferguson, president of the Trades Union Congress, reiterates his calls for a living wage.

If the cost of most things has gone up and your wages are stagnating, you will struggle to survive.

–Obie Ferguson

Ferguson said Eyewitness News that Bahamians must be able to earn a living wage as the cost of food and fuel continues to rise.

“We have to pay attention to the average worker. It’s tough out there,” Ferguson said.

“We need a living wage in this country and I’ve been asking for it for years.

“We need it more than ever. If the cost of most things has gone up and your wages are stagnating, you will struggle to survive.

“I’m not talking about the minimum an employer can pay, because most go beyond that; I’m talking about what it’s realistic for the average Bahamian to be self-supporting.

Ferguson added: “The business person, the union, the government and the employee have a part to play in all of this. We must bring together all the players to find the best solution.

“It’s tough out there. We all need to kick up our boots to see how best we can cope.

“We have to deal with problems, not personalities. The interest of the worker must be taken into account. For the union, this is the main factor.

Obie Ferguson, President of the TUC.

“We also have to do things in the interest of the economy.

“We are preparing to settle the living wage issue. We are going to propose something to the government.

Labor Minister Keith Bell said earlier this year that officials expect legislation for a new minimum wage will be ready to go through Parliament “very soon”.

The government intends to replace the minimum wage of $210 per week with a higher wage which could be around $250 per week.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has promised to revise the salary before winning the general election in September.

Researchers from the University of the Bahamas (UB), in a study last year, pegged Nassau’s monthly living wage at $2,625, while the equivalent for Grand Bahama was $3,550 per month. .

Michael A. Bynum