St. Kitts – Nevis Raises Minimum Wage
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 29, 2008 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the increase in the minimum wage from EC$250.00 to EC$320 per week from November 1st is the highest in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“On an hourly basis, we have increased the minimum wage from EC$6.25 per hour to EC$8.00 per hour,” said Prime Minister Douglas at his monthly Press Conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The minimum wage increase reflects a 111 percent rise in the minimum wage since the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party took office 13 years ago.
“I recall that when my St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party took office in 1995, the minimum wage implemented by the previous administration in 1994, was EC$100 per week for domestic workers and EC$120 dollars per week for shop supervisors. It was between EC$150 and EC$200 for those working in the hotel industry. In 1997, my Government increased the minimum wage by 33 percent to EC$160 per week. In 2004, my Government again increased the minimum wage by an additional 56 percent, to EC$250 per week. And I am pleased to report that this year, my Government is again increasing the minimum wage for a third time, increasing the minimum wage in this country by another 28 percent – from EC$250 per week to EC$320 per week,” Prime Minister Douglas.
He said that the minimum wage in St. Kitts and Nevis is now the highest in the member territories of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“Let me emphasise that when we say minimum wage, what is meant is really the minimum that can be paid, but not necessarily the wage that should be paid,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Prime Minister Douglas said the relevant legislation will be enacted to raise the ceiling of the Social Services Levy which stipulates that no deductions are to be made from the EC$320.
He said that the increase in the minimum wage is a promise made to the ordinary people of this Federation on Labour Day.
“My Government moved to promptly to increase this country’s minimum wage. And so we immediately entered into consultations with the various stakeholders including the bus associations, the clergy, Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union, the Hotel and Tourism Association and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. And in accordance with the law, the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee was appointed,” said Prime Minister Douglas.