President of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers, Vivek Charran, believes any increase in minimum wage will put a further strain on businesses.
On Monday, during Labour Day celebrations, members of the trade union movement called for an increase in the minimum wage from $17.50 to $30.
However, while this would mean more money in the pockets of workers, Mr Charran said the increase might put further strain on businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, and lead to increased unemployment.
“We also look at the level of commercial activity. In other words, revenues earned by businesses are quite low. Then we can see that if there is in fact a minimum wage hike at this moment, I can only see unfortunately the leading to unemployment as people who have employed many people may not be able to be foot the bill, the wage bill in relation to what their earnings are, or hours being cut so that in effect, the wages paid are the same as the wages that were paid before there was any rise in the minimum wage,” he said.
Charran said this is not an instance of businesses being on a different page to workers as the economic strain is being felt by both sides.
“I don’t feel that labour themselves are in this alone. I do believe business to a large extent we are in there with them together,” he said.
“I believe that this is one particular point in time after COVID that we’re all feeling the brunt of inflation, external inflation, particularly food inflation have been coming together with all the other rising costs that have happened due to things like increase in shipping rates, and so on and how things change in terms of manufacturing globally. But that’s a lot for people when they’re thinking about how far the salary is going to take us”