PM commits to improving working conditions of security guards
In his Budget presentation, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced an increase in the wage for security guards, moving it from $10,500 per week to $14,000. He continued by expressing his sadness regarding the recent attack on security guards in Portmore.
Minimum wage boost
PM announces new rates effective June 1
17 Mar 2023/Kimone Francis
MINIMUM WAGE earners will see a 44 per cent increase in their salaries effective June 1, the largest percentage increase in 20 years, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced on Thursday.
The national minimum wage, which now stands at $9,000 per 40-hour work week, is to increase to $13,000.
Further, the minimum wage for industrial security guards is to move from $10,500 per week to $14,000. Holness announced the increases during his Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives. “The Jamaican people have made significant sacrifices it is the right of every Jamaican to benefit from this success and this administration believes in sharing prosperity. As our economy continues to grow we continue to work to ensure the economic benefits are shared widely and equitably to every Jamaican,” Holness told his parliamentary colleagues and the audience in the gallery, including members of the diplomatic community. He said that his administration is committed to providing minimum wage earners with a liveable wage as part of its commitment to prosperity for Jamaicans.
Last week, Elaine Duncan, president of the Household Workers Union, told The Gleaner that household workers have been struggling to make ends meet and to look after their families, owing to the effect that inflation has had on the $9,000 minimum wage they earn per week.
She expressed hope that an increase would be granted soon as Minister of Labour and Social Security Karl Samuda had revealed that his ministry has received the recommendation from the National Minimum Wage Commission for an increase.
“We are hoping that there will be no new taxes and that we will hear something about the increase in the minimum wage to match up with the inflation rate. We need to hear from the minister on that,” Duncan said, then referring to Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, who was set to open the Budget Debate.
The prime minister said the trilliondollar budget announced by Clarke a
week ago without new taxes is a clear strategy by the Government to ensure that there is no erosion of the income of workers.
“We recognise that the contribution of minimum wage earners, such as household workers, artisans, labourers, store clerks, and security personnel, is vital to the success of our manufacturers, hotel professionals, lawyers, doctors, and teachers in meeting our national productivity and service targets,” said Holness.
He said that since his party took the reins of Government in 2016, the minimum wage has increased from $6,200 to $13,000 – a 110 per cent over seven years.
He noted that cumulative inflation over that period, is less than 50 per cent, and even when converted to US dollars, represents only 66 per cent increase.
“This Government – the Andrew Holness-led Government, your Government, our Government – has done more than any previous Government to create prosperity for Jamaica and Jamaicans, and we are proud to share the gains with all Jamaicans,” Holness boasted.
Turning to the security industry, Holness said that he was “deeply saddened” by activities in recent times that security guards have come under attack with some losing their lives on the front line.
He said that the Government has engaged employers in the industry to improve the conditions of work for guards, ensuring that the necessary statutory payments are made to allow them to qualify for housing and national insurance pension.
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