As govt. gives public workers 10% increase, Prime Minister Harris encourages private employers to follow suit
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS & NEVIS — Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has encouraged local jobs in St. Kitts to consider increasing wages for their workers.
This comes on the heels of the St. Kitts government offering public sector workers a 10 percent wage increase, becoming another of several Caribbean nations to make such a move in recent times.
St. Kitts now joins the likes of Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Saba in offering wage increases for public workers.
Civil servants on Nevis, St. Kitts’ sister island, are not receiving the same 10 percent increase but will receive an increase of five percent.
Prime Minister Harris said, “With respect to the increase for federal employees, we the government acted as an employer and provided its employees with a generous, historic, large 10 percent increase to satisfy a number of initiatives or to satisfy a number of needs:
“One, help families cope with the high cost of living; two, stimulate the economy; and thirdly, create an environment for ongoing growth and development.”
Should private sector jobs increase salaries too?
The prime minister noted that he cannot force any jobs across St. Kitts & Nevis to follow the government’s lead and pay their workers more.
However, he said he “would encourage every private sector employer who can do likewise to basically be generous in their determination of the conditions of work for their employees”.
“I believe that everyone really could do well with an increase at this particular moment in time,” said Harris, “but I do not have the authority to impose it upon private sector entities…
“They will have to make that assessment, and I hope, very shortly, that they will do so.”
What about minimum wage?
Prime Minister Harris was also questioned about whether all jobs in St. Kitts and Nevis, whether public or private, should be paying their workers more via an increased minimum wage.
Again, SKN would join numerous other Caribbean nations in addressing this matter in recent times as inflation skyrockets.
Harris acknowledged the minimum wage issue is “standard in our Caribbean islands”, but skirted around a definitive answer.
Instead, the prime minister said he “gathered” that the matter was being reviewed by a tripartite body including the private sector, public sector and unions.
“Hopefully, in due course, we will have some determination with respect to this particular matter,” he said.