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Bahamas: The minimum wage debate continues
The Freeport News
Nathaniel Lewis

August 6, 2011
View the Original Article

As the cost of living continues to increase in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the global society, the country's minimum wage debate is once again gaining national attention.

As recent as July of this year, this daily reported that employees of Quality Services Limited on Queens Highway staged a lunchtime protest outside the gates of the establishment and demanded better treatment.

Among the issues workers were frustrated about was wages.

Secretary General of The Bahamas Marine Dock Construction and Maintenance Allied Workers Union Julian Russell said, "after each year of service we have in our agreement that they themselves will begin to honor the fact that these men have been working for them for years and in working for years, after three, four, five, do you think I should still be making $4 and driving a tractor?"

He went on to say that after 20 years employees make about $6 per hour.

Youth on Grand Bahama shared their views on the matter of minimum wage in the private sector which starts at $150 to $210, with many being open to the idea of a minimum wage increase.

Burkey Bowe said, "the cost of living is increasing, hence it is an opportune time to increase the minimum wage."

Akriza Smith agreed with her saying that while going to $210 was a "high jump," it's an "acceptable" figure.

Lancelot Darville Jr. also weighed in and said that he has concerns that an increase could potentially have a negative economic impact. "There are both cons and pros to a higher minimum wage. However, given our current economic climate in The Bahamas, my concern is that it could cause for an increase in the unemployment rate if small business aren't able to foot the heightened salary that comes with increased minimum wage," he said.

In recent times, Trade Union leaders have commented that $150 is not enough for a person to live on, adding that anything more $150 would be supported.