LA dodges basic wage debate

| 21/02/2011

(CNS): Despite government claims that it is committed to a minimum wage, it was not prepared to debate the subject during Monday’s legislative proceedings. Both the premier and the labour minister said that a committee stage amendment brought by the independent member for North Side was irrelevant to the changes government was bringing to the labour law and it should never have made it to the floor of the legislative committee. Attempts by Ezzard Miller to insert a clause into the government’s bill removing the 12 week cap on workers compensation and to introduce a minimum wage of $5 were, after a long protracted battle, thwarted. This was Miller’s third attempt to get government to introduce a minimum wage which has failed.

Government fought for some time during Monday’s committee session not to allow the amendment to go to a vote and invoked a number of standing orders as well as chapters in Erskine May, the UK’s handbook on parliamentary procedure, to stop the amendment being brought before legislators. Although the speaker had allowed the motion for the amendment to be placed on the agenda, the premier said that Miller’s amendment was not only irrelevant but was procedurally incorrect, inadmissible and the speaker and the clerks should never have accepted it.

“This has no business before the committee. It is irrelevant and should be withdrawn,” the premier said, adding that government should not be forced into a vote over such an important issue when the clerk and the speakers were wrong to accept the motion in the first place. The premier said the member should withdraw the amendment and government should not have to vote on it.

Miller said it was music to his ears that government had realized there were rules in the Legislative Assembly but strongly disputed the accusations that he was out of order, that there was anything procedurally incorrect, or that the bill was irrelevant, adding that the amendment was properly before the House.

He also pointed to various standing orders as well as the precedent not only on this particular issue but on other historical legislative changes in the parliament’s history. Miller expressed his disappointment that the government members seemed so reluctant to debate a bill that was designed to help the working people and refused to withdraw his amendment. “I am not withdrawing the amendment,” he said, adding that the speaker and the clerks were correct in accepting and circulating the proposal. “Government cannot cop out on a vote by saying someone erred and I’m not withdrawing it and helping government out of this one,” he added.

The opposition supported Miller in his arguments that the amendment was procedurally correct and that there should be a vote on the amendment. Alden McLaughlin, in his new role as leader of the opposition, described the government’s behaviour as preposterous. He said it was very clear the premier regarded the subject as very political but the speaker should not allow those considerations to stand in the way of the proposed amendment being dealt with as it should be.

During the lunchtime adjournment McKeeva Bush spoke with the press and acknowledged the political sensitivity of the subject but he said the UDP was fully committed to introducing a minimum wage in the right way. He said there were still many issues to iron out and that his government was not prepared to just rush through an amendment in this way. “The UDP is committed to it but we can’t say at what rate,” he said, adding that it could well be more than $5 and that there were “tremendous matters” still to be considered when itcame to the actual legislation for a minimum wage.

With both government and opposition in favour of a minimum wage it would seem that its introduction should not be such a legislative difficulty. However, the matter has been in the political arena for discussion for several years and no administration has yet been ale to pass it. Bush said that he, of all politicians, was the one that had helped to improve legislation when it came to labour laws and he was committed to getting this through as well.

“There will be a minimum wage,” he promised.

However, it was clear when the legislatures returned after the adjournment that it would not be the day that the minimum wage finally made it to the country’s statute books as the premier insisted that the procedure was incorrect and the amendment irrelevant. Although the government had taken a vote in the past on Miller’s amendments and voted ‘no’, this time it seemed particularly reluctant to take the amendment to a vote at all as it continued to argue points over procedure and relevance.

Eventually, the speaker saved the government from having to vote ‘no’ and said that the motion had to be withdrawn as the member had not supplied an amendment to the schedule of the law with his amendment to the bill. Miller asked several times for clarity on her position as he said he was not entirely clear what schedule the speaker was referring to, and was told she was referring to the schedule in the law.

Speaking after the House adjourned, Miller said he had to accept the ruling by the speaker but he was still not sure what she meant by an amendment to the schedule of the law because the labour law has no schedule. “In the end it seems that the government, despite what it claims, is reluctant to commit to a minimum wage,” he added. “We could have had one today if they were,” he said.

The opposition leader, who also supports a minimum wage, was concerned about what had happened with the amendment as he said the North Side member’s bill was properly before the House and should have been voted on. “How can the speaker approve a motion to amend the bill, circulate it to members, allow it to come to the floor of the committee and then after three hours of debate and browbeating by the government rule it to be unintelligible, incomplete and irrelevant?” McLaughlin asked rhetorically.

The government’s bill, which was the only piece of legislation for the day, amends the labour law to remove the 12 week cap on severance pay, compensation or pension benefits to employers who have worked for more than twelve years. The change was supported by both sides of the House and was eventually passed.

The members of the LA are due to return to the country’s parliament on Wednesday at 10am

See government’s bill and Miller’s proposed amendment below

Labour Law Amendment Bill 2011

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Comments (49)

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  1. Libertarian says:

    ***** No minimum wage period! There are other ways to deal with employers who are without conscience! Have you ever seen government lower a tax? Have you ever seen a minimum wage take a country out of poverty? I guarantee that the wage rate will not be lowered – it will either remained fixed or raised like a tax, and unemployment and more crime will be the result, because employers will be unable to hire unskilled workers! Like the roll-over policy, a policy that both UDP and PPM seem to tolerate in this country, this minimum wage will be another damaging blow against the market! It is interesting that after the roll-over policy was implemented, how crime increased. I say we have too much Government’ intereference upon the operations of the private sector. Both parites are pushing for Big Government and hence increases in fees, duties, and permits. *****

  2. Roadblogger says:

    McKeeva Bush makes me sick.  How does a man who collects an enormous salary AND a pension AND has his bills paid for by the public put himself in a position to say a $5 minimum wage "might" be considered but not just at the moment?  What kind of elitist dream world does this guy live in?  Here’s a thought for you you over paid clown:  Try living on less than $5/hour/$40/day for a month! 

    Because a lot of your constituents have to. Maybe you’ll lose some weight.

  3. Libertarian says:

    *****
    In the Southern States, the minimum wage law is one of the most, if not the most racial law on the statute books! By this law, white employers have came up with the excuse not to hire blacks. Now that we are considering a minimum wage law in the Cayman Islands, do you seriously believe that large establishments are going to hire unskilled Caymanians whose labors are valued below the minimum wage? That will be their excuse not to hire! Do you seriously think that small businesses will not raise the cost of goods and services? Do you seriously believe that the minimum wage of $5 dollars per hour will make any difference of increasing employment in the Cayman Islands? Gentle People, I am still waiting to see a minimum wage protecting Americans or UK citizens from being unemployed! The Global Recession, Cayman’s Economic downturn like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by “government mismanagement” – not by any inherent instability of the private sector or mere abuses in the market that can be corrected by simple legislation. The local government should be focusingmore on creating jobs! The minimum wage like roll-over policy may cause employers to downsize and close their doors to unskilled laborers; moreover, how in thehell will government be able to sucessfully “enforce” this law without rising the cost of living. God Help Us!

    *****

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Speaker’s ruling to reject Mr Milleramendment clearly shows her bias towards the UDP. This is not surprising given that she was appointed by the Premier and the recent FOI shows that her daughter is also employed by the Premier’s ministry. The Speaker would clearly have a great deal to lose if she was to rule against the Premier. Her private-interest concerns appear to outweigh her public-interest responsibilities. This was a very sad day for Cayman.

    • Florence Goring-Nozza says:

      Whoa  !

      Cayman’s elite are very talented in Nice Recital! Sounds like Big Berd or Mick Romney in disguise at times. They are very good at charging  the little ones with no voice with a Good strong conservative rebuttal and a right wing agenda, similar to a catcher freeman slave song? despite Emancipation! some of You  one in particular  after reading her comment could have fooled me with your last phrase that you in fact approve of the minimum wage legislation for the Caymanian people.  
      Guys, do not get sucked in by the rhetoric  to fight this legislation down.  The truth is Balancing the budget to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin means balancing the budget ON THE BACKS OF THE WORKING ‘MIDDLE CLASS"  That’s what is happening in Cayman right now,  while lining the pockets of Wall street also known as the corporate elite who in the U.S.have already received billions of these same tax payers dollars by deception in bailout  monies only to be caught by the Federal government living large and lavishly,on the WORKING CLASS tax payers monies with No accountability and no spending limit!.    "Hit the roof  with spending Jack" they say "we’re coming back for more, for more! Yes of the working class’s tax dollars!"

      Don’t be moved by opposition, The bottom line is No government liberal or conservative should be allowed to deny any group of people whether trade union, civil service union, or private individual THEIR RIGHT TO  ACT ON THEIR OWN BEHALF, BY exercising their right to COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AT THE TABLE.  THAT IS "SOCIALISM" to say the least.

      And all those in the church and standing outside the church said  ‘AMEN."

  5. Kerry Horek says:

    Minimum wage is necessary, end of story. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually more than just a minimum wage. The minimum wage is needed to give poor people a fighting chance to live period. Some of you selfish greedy people only look at the economy but if people are paid even those wages it will be hard to survive.

      On the other side of this a job should pay a specific range depending on qualifications and skills. Individuals coming from poorer countries are willing to except jobs with significantly lower salaries just to have a job. Hence Caymanians are losing jobs for another reason.

      • Anonymous says:

         Low wages are due to a very large labour pool.  The best way to fix it is through work permit policy/imposing minimum living standards, not a minimum wage.

    • Annoymous says:

      How can anyone say minimum wage isn’t a necessity in today’s environment? If people have more disposable incomes then they will spend more.  But then again some people on here are probably just shallow minded and can’t see that part of the equation for watching their bottom lines dwindle.

  6. Libertarian says:

    *****
    Please note that any American who has tried to pay his/her bills, their health care, or simply buy groceries from a store knows all too well that their current minimum wage (rated at U.S. $5.15 dollars) does not cut the cake! Yet to everyone’s amazement, after Congress implemented the wage in 1997, how come do you have a mother with one child still living below the official poverty line? They say that the purpose of the minimum wage is to prevent the exploitation of the workforce, poverty, and inequality. They say it is a moral duty to improvethe quality of life! I have no objections to that! But to this day, around the globe, do you see the poor and less fortunate, better of because of a minimum wage enforced by their governments upon the private sectors??? Note the last U.S. minimum wage increase was in 1997 and it did not stop the millions of Americans from losing their jobs and homes in 2008. The Global Recession spread the world like a virus! To my opponents, I say, do you see a minimum wage job keeping a family out of poverty??? Where??? What place??? Show us where???

    Instead of pushing a minimum wage on everyone, the Cayman Islands government should be more focused on helping locals create, maintain, and established their own businesses and companies! If we had the creation of many businesses and companies on the island, better immigration policies, and money circulating in our islands, most naturally, more jobs would have been created and more people would have more options to leave one job for the next better one! More than likely a minimum wage in the Cayman Islands will cause some unskilled workers to be priced out of the Caymanian market.

    This is not to disregard those folk who are being victims of cheap labor like domestic helpers and construction workers. But if government would just allow themarket to boom, remove their restrictive laws, and encourage more competition to be on island, such victims would be able to have more opportunities to make a decent living. Even employers and business owners seeing the competition, would want to keep their good employees and pay them well. A MINIMUM WAGE IS NOT NEEDED IN A WELL COMPETITIVE and FREE MARKET! Government has failed us by negatively interfering to much with the forces that has driven our market towards prosperity, and now we have to deal with a failing economy and as a bandaid, a minimum wage, which may well cost us more in the long run, seeing the governmental influence of hike fees, duties, work permit, and licenses, suffocating business in the Cayman Islands.

    So far, the economic reality that is missing from this discussion, is that the minimum wage will cause some “unskilled workers” to be priced out of the job-market! And seeing the conditions, this may very well cause more unemployment (employers unwilling to hire these workers) and an increase in crime (workers unwilling to take employers rejecting them).

    The wage-rate sounds all good and dandy, but tell me, does it make a difference when our government still, is making the cost of living high in these Islands. Government has alot to do to change its economic policies, and unless they change, what sounds like a good moral option for the whole community, will just become an economic prickle that will in the long run, end up hurting us (both employers and those still looking for work).

    *****

    • Anne on a Moose says:

      Cayman will never be a fair or competitive market, hence some employee protection is needed here more than most other places.

      • Libertarian says:

        ***** Indeed, butthe more competitive, the more opportunities and innovation. Whereas, the more restricted by government, is the more people will find unlawful means to financially support themselves. Government hand-outs is not the answer! *****

  7. nauticalone says:

    Yes! to minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do. Period.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The real problem here is how is our Government going to administer or enforce a minimum wage? In countries that have developed social assistance programs they are funded by that government’s income tax revenue. Governments in those countries have not only social but financial incentive to enforce the minimum wage laws and assign departments/staff to such enforcement because to not do so would affect that government’s income stream from income taxes. In Cayman there is no corresponding financial benefit (note I said financial not social) to our Government allocating resources to a minimum wage enforcement program. At this stage, we all need a healthy economy ticking along or there will be a great reduction in jobs, including the ones that would usually pay a minimum wage, so we need to keep our focus on the important issues here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm.. how is Govt going to enforce this… the same way they enforce pensions and health insurance, not the greatest but its getting better. If they developed a method that employees would come forward or you have an anonymous way of reporting companies in violation so that they can be investigated along with stiff fines and penalties, we would see companies adhere to the law.
      A min wage will not solve all the problems, but there would be more benfits to gain by introducing it.
      It will only get worse before everyone realises we need a min wage.
      No financial benefit, tell that that to hospitality employees and security guards making less than $5 per hour and see if they would not benefit.
      The problem is that when we have greedy business persons who exploit and take advantage of expat labour which is supported by the Chamber a min wage will never come into effect. Caymanians will not and can’t afford to work for anything less than $6 per hour, lets have a national debate about this. Cayman was built on the middle class, but now it either you rich or you poor.
      In April 2010, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)[45] released a report arguing that countries could alleviate teen unemployment by “lowering the cost of employing low-skilled youth” through a sub-minimum training wage. A study of U.S. states showed that businesses’ annual and average payrolls grow faster and employment grew at a faster rate in states with a minimum wage. 197 countries have some form of minimum wage (even including Cuba).
      Cayman we need politicians with the cojones to deal with this or do what they have started in Egypt and the middle East…run them out!!!

  9. brigitte says:

    How about a minimum wage for domestics. Was this part of Mr. Miller’s amendment? Domestics make up a very large portion of all work permit grants and should be included. We all know many domestics are forced to pay their work permit fees and often do not get paid for working horrendous hours.

    • Ex Pat says:

       I think he was speaking of a minimum wage across the board.  So anyone in any line of work (had this gone through) would have been subject to a minimum of $5 per hour.  Personally I think this would be a good way to get some Caymanians back in work who are currently being rejected for countless skilled and unskilled jobs in favor of foreigners who are willing to work for way less than $5 an hour and are prepared to live like sardines in a can in order to afford the high cost of living here on such abysmal wages.  

      Please fellow ex-pats don’t shame me further by starting the usual generalistic anti-Caymanianrhetoric here its not only lame but also offensive to those (and I  know plenty) who really are trying hard to find work.

      • Anonymous says:

        You know what, if I was unskilled, Caymanian, had a family to feed, I would work for CI$5.0 per hour, its better then having nothing at all.  Wendy’s, Burger King to name a few, pay more then $5.00 an hour, but do you see a Caymanian doing that type of work "no way" they are better then that, but yet they are complaining they can’t find work.  Go figure!!!!

        • Well says:

          How do you account for the qualified Caymanians who are not finding work? I know of someone with a Masters Degree and because he left a big firm after over 10 years they bad mouthed him to their “friends” in other firms and now its getting so bad that the other firms wont even offer him and interview for positions that he is over qualified for! the latest one was for a job advertised through an agency and when he applied to the agency they told him they had already given the job to an expat with less qualifications but more experience. Then he found out that one of the Partners at his old firm basically told a Partner at the firm where he was applying to not hire him. By the way before anyone jumps the gun… he is qualified, experienced and performed and did not have 1 black mark on his record. He was pushed out of his last job because his new boss (expat) knew he was going to eventually be in the running for his job! Immigration was aware of this case and did nothing! The Caymanian Partners at his old firm did nothing. not a minimum wage topic but it demonstrates what some of our people are going through right here and now!

      • Anonymous says:

        The thing is, if you raise the minimum wage for domestics, many hardworking Caymanian families are going to see their disposable income come down because they’ll have to pay more for the domestics.  It seems hardly fair to penalise hard workers because some people in society have no skills/ambitions.  In the end, I don’t think a lot of unemployed Caymanians will want to work even for $5 or $6 an hour anyway, so the biggest result of a minimum wage could well be merely to raise the cost of doing business even more and the cost of domestic helpers. This might cause some two-worker families to decide to keep the lowest earner home to watch the kids, increasing the number of employable Caymanians who aren’t working.

        Of course, what will most likely happen is that many people will simply ignore the law, creating more law-breakers out of good citizens, many of whom are role models, further breaking down the rule of law here.

        No policy as far reaching as introducing a minimum wage should be entered into without proper study to determine the various effects it will have.  In general, adopting policies that move away from free market principles in a free market economy have equal and opposite effects somewhere else in the system.  We should know what those effects might be.

        Ezzard is just being Ezzard and looking to score political points by seeming to fight for the common man. He shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but look how the UDP is scrambling in his wake.  If politics wasn’t all such a game here, the people might actually get government decisions that would help them.

         

        • Anne on a Moose says:

          Anonymous 19.56 – I could not agree with your position less:

          “It seems hardly fair to penalise hard workers (Caymanians) because some people in society have no skills/ambitions” – Hmm…… I think that says a lot – how you view domestic helpers.

          “”This might cause some two-worker families to decide to keep the lowest earner home to watch the kids, increasing the number of employable Caymanians who aren’t working.” – Surely a good thing for some, especially Caymanians, to be more engaged with their children in their early years. And if they cannot make ends meet unless they employ someone on peanuts to watch their kids, that is not a good reason for insisting on being able to exploit others.

          “”…..many people will simply ignore the law, creating more law-breakers out of good citizens, many of whom are role models, further breaking down the rule of law here.” – no-one who breaks the law is a good citizen or a role model. But you are right that a general disregard for any inconvenient law is far too common in Cayman – a poor reflection on society here and one which hopefully over time will be addressed and reversed, provided we are prepared to put in some social laws and enforce them alongside human rights.

          Your entire post only shows your elitist attitude and utter disregard for foreign low paid workers. I suggest you re-read your post and reflect on whether you really are that person.

          • Anonymous says:

            Please spare me the bleeding heart sentimentalism.  I’m astounded that someone who obviously doesn’t have a clue about the larger issues being discussed here would so audaciously try to exert her moral superiority.  First of all, if you think for one moment the clamoring for a minimum wage has anything to do with easing the suffering of low-paid foreign workers, you need to step slowly away from the computer and go back to knitting mittens for your relatives in Moose Jaw.  If the suggested theory behind the minimum wage were correct, its implementation would lead to the island getting rid of these poor foreign workers you so nobly want to defend. The thinking is, if there were a minimum wage, Caymanians employers couldn’t hire foreigners to work for $4 an hour or less, allowing unemployed Caymanians to take their jobs at a higher rate of pay – and sending the foreigners back home on the next flight out to the misery and lower wages they were trying to escape.  (And by the way, exploited or not, the low paid foreigners here are here for only one reason – they can make more here than at home – no one is forcing them to stay if they’re so exploited, why aren’t they leaving). No Cayman legislator, and certainly not Ezzard Miller, is suggesting a minimum wage is for the benefit of foreigners. However, if you had any understanding of the issue, you’d realise that my original post was pointing out that a benefit to foreigners would probably be the biggest result of a minimum wage, and ultimately would add pressure on Caymanian business owners and Caymanian families that employ domestics.  

            As for your comment that "no one who breaks the law is a good citizen or role model"…  please, before you make insanely naive comments like that, read some history, study the humanities and come down out of the clouds of your idealistic WASP upbringing and understand there’s a real world out there.  Good people often do bad things in certain circumstances and, whether you agree or not, they are role models to people like their children.

            I’ll agree with you about is my being elitist, if that’s what you want to call looking out for Caymanians and the long-term success of this island over low-income foreigners.  It’s not that I have a bone to pick with the low-income foreigners, and I’m all for prosecuting employers who don’t abide by the law when it comes to their employment terms, but they agreed to come here and work for a certain wage. If that wage isn’t enough for them to have a better life here than back home, they have recourse – they’re not enslaved here.

            • Anne on a Moose says:

              For the record I have an Economics degree and work in finance and have lived in Cayman 15+ years. Your logic is faulty and not supported by the real world – which you should try studying a little – outside of Cayman that is. You are clearly beyond redemption.

      • Anonymous says:

        hey ‘expat’…..trust me, caymanians could learn alot from the people who live like ‘sardines’….. 

      • Michel Lemay says:

        17:25 I want to thank you for your comments. yes we need a minimum wage and yes there are many good Caymanians out there. And youre also right about an Anti- one against another Anti one.Not only is sense of humor a little thin and I find it a negative good for nothing waste of time to read. God Bless

    • Anonymous says:

      I love this the way the lawmakers got around minimum wage for domestics. Domestics must pay for their food and lodging so that reduces the minimum wage from $5.00 to whatever.

      The Caymanian employers of domestics could charge them $6.00 for food and lodging and after a $5.00 minimum wage could force the domestics to pay to work here in Cayman.

      Isn’t that clever…and moral.

  10. ALL SEEING says:

    UDP is showing their true colors when they do not support Mr. Miller’s bill. Anyone with a brain and not bought and paid for by the Chamber of Commerce can see that Mr. Miller is right. The UDP is phony and the PPM is clueless. Mr. Miller is a true leader and the rest are mere holders of power that should not have it. Hopefully, people will not remain misinformed and detached from the political process as not to open up their eyes and see who is playing political games with the majority of the people.

  11. Subway Cookie says:

    I wonder how many of the people on here opposing a minimum wage are earning peanuts and cannot complain out of fear for losing their job/work permit etc.

    It is disgusting to claim we are a civilised society and then turn around and pay a helper 2-4 dollars an hour to care for your snotty nosed brats all day long.

    Employers won’t like it, but we are talking about human beings here. You cannot expect someone to work for such an obscene amount of money whether Caymanian or expatriate. Welcome to modern times Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      and in my experience, the ones who pay those lousy wages are the ones who could easily afford to pay more. I guess that’s why the rich are rich!

  12. Just Sayin' says:

    The only thing that this Government seems to be doing well is protecting the people from the out of control unmanned wrecking ball that is Ezzard Miller.

  13. Alan Roffey says:

    The minimum wage is only a small part of the story here. The UDP wants the credit for introducing it, rather than Mr. Miller.

    But in truth, the Elected Government and the Civil Service have shown once again that they don’t understand what makes the private sector tick.

    Long term employers in this jurisdiction have just been kicked in the face by a poorly thought out revision to a law that should be completely rewritten, or scrapped altogether.

    What do our politicians read in their spare time? Not The Economist thats for sure.

    Enlightened economists recognize that any restrictions to the natural movement of human resources act as an impediment to employment and economic activity in general.

    Our politicians complain that there is a sense of entitlement in our local labour force. Then they exacerbate the problem by removing the cap from severance pay. They say this will make businesses think twice about making long term employees redundant. Rubbish! I say they have just made the employment of loyal middle class employees much less secure.

    We wonder how it is that America seems to be able to bounce back after a recession and we find that many states have “hire and fire at will” legislation.

    If our politicians truly wanted to get the Caymanian work force back to work, they take a page from the American book, allow hire and fire at will, scrap severance pay, notice pay and all of the other outdated employee-centric crap in the Labour Law that makes an employer think twice about hiring someone new.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t follow your logic. How can you compare a system where there is no income tax paid and no welfare or unemployment pay provided to a system where people have something to fall back on should their employer terminate their employment unexpectedly (ie welfare, medicaid, medicare, etc). The system you are describing seems to be for the rich to get richer by exploiding the lesser educated people in this country. At the end, we all know what the cost of living is here compared to the USA for example so a moral obligation should play some part. I know that is not acceptable for a lot of business owners.
      In respect to the USA bouncing back from recession – I would be curious if you can elaborate which States exactly you are referring to. I am sure you get different stories depending on if you are talking to someone in Texas, or if you talking to someone in Michigan.

      • Alan Roffey says:

        The logic is simple.

        Private enterprise is the engine that drives employment, no matter what level of education the employees might have. It’s not an employers job to basically educate the people and neither should they pay if there is a lack of basic education. Those are two very different issues.

        Long term employment builds wealth for both the employer and the employee. The higher reward should go to the party that takes the higher risk. Yet each person is responsible for their own destiny and should save to deal with their own rainy day.

        You can’t say we didn’t see it coming. The Bible tells us to expect sevenyears of plenty then seven years of famine.

        If we need a better public social security blanket to carry those impacted by the ups and downs of the economic cycle then so be it. But every working person should contribute money towards those rainy days in ratio to their earnings whenever they are working.

        Now that the rainy day is here its not reasonable to expect the relatively few owners of small and medium sized local businesses to meet this new cost with no warning. Especially those that have been in business the longest, and are only just surviving themselves.

        Some won’t be there with the know how, leadership and investment money that will be so badly needed to employ again when the recovery comes around.

        We are not talking about the rich here. We’re talking about the middle class. Like those that came here from Jamaica when their livelihoods were being wiped out by short sighted policies intended to hand their hard earned money over to the likkle man.

        Look what happened to Jamaica without them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Spare me the literature, until you have been victimized by a greedy employer you cant walk in my shoes. The “Likkle man” as you put it needs all the help he can get. the scale has to be balanced some how because right now everything is tilted in favor of the employer. Did you know that unfair dismissal only entitles you to 1 weeks pay for every year you worked with the company, that amounts to very little considering the sleazy tactics employed by firms right here in Cayman. Constructive dismissal is rampant and its a crying shame that influential people in the community are supporting big business over the “likkle man”
          If people treated their employees right the labour law would be a non-issue!

        • Anonymous says:

          It is obvious to me that you were never in a situation where someone just can’t save for a rainy day. There are many people out there who are just barely making it from month to month and I am not talking about the people who don’t have their priorities straight! I actually think it is quite arrogant that you expect someone in Cayman who earns CI$ 3/hour is supposed to save for a “rainy day”. Whilst I agree that everyone must do their part to get ahead, I also believe that in hard times employersneed to realize that their profit margin can not remain the same. Profit should not be made by exploiding employees, it should be made by increasing sales. How do you increase sales when times are rough? You make your product more attractive than that of your competitors (which likely includes lowering your prices). Employers also must learn to save for a rainy day so that they can keep afloat when times are rough. Clearly, a lot of businesses in Cayman failed to do so. In my opinion, things are not rough enough yet for many businesses on the Island as the customer services and quality of service and product remain poor and inflated prices continue to exist.

    • Anonymous says:

      you are joking – right ??? Why dont we just line them up and shoot them as well – while you are at it! what happened to looking after your employees and protecting them from victimization/ I guess you have never been on that end of the spectrum so you do not understand!

      I definately wont be applying for a job at your company anytime soon! Geez

  14. Anonymous says:

    and all business owners/consumers breathe a sigh of relief….

  15. E. Williams says:

    It is obvious that Miller looks out for the little man! Mac for Dart and the rich! And PPM still got their heads in the clouds! Both UDP and PPM are trying to take the credit! We have 1 man who appears to be looking out for “us.” The Question is – Will not the minimum wage make matters worse, seeing people need every cent they can get in these hard economic times?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Raise minimum wage, increase in labor carried to public. Cost to pubic goes up, the cost rise is spread to local economy. The people who you were supposed to makes their lived “better” with increased wages – THEIR cost goes go for living. You’ve achieved abbsolutely noitrhing that raise everybody’ cost in the long run and make cayman even more expensive and the minimum wagers are no better off. Typical lizzard miller feel good policies. But! It will gain votes from those who are clueless about the economy.

  17. Libertarian says:

    *****
    Minimum wage derived from the philosophy of wealth redistribute Cayman’s wealth. It is like a income tax for the sole purpose of putting monies in the pockets of those at the low end of the scale.

    However, like I have always said before, the minimum wage may have a nagative impact on Cayman’s economy. Four things to consider: FIRST – the minimum wage may cause price inflation as businesses and supermarkets try to compensate by raising the prices of the goods being sold; SECOND – the law can result in the exclusion of certain groups (unskilled workers) from the labor force. Some people’s labour is simply not worth the minimum wage and hence employers may not have the sufficient funds to employ them; THIRD – the minimum wage may exclude low cost competitors from the labour market. This will hurt small businesses more than the large establishments and big companies; and FOURTH – the law would “forces” employers to pay low skilled workers what they don’t want to pay. More government control over people’s private affairs. Finally, the Minimum wage may cause an increase in unemployment and crime in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anne on a Moose says:

      You forgot FIFTH – a minimum wage, even one as low as $5 per hour, would give a little dignity to those who earn at this level and prevent unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of them, and in a small way make up for their lack of representation in the labour market. Of course, only a mature society with a true social conscience would bring about a minimum wage in their legislature.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Govt introduced the minimum wage but reduced the work permit / business fees, perhaps the businesses would not have any increased cost to pass onto the cunsumers and there would be not real increase in inflation.

      Also, if the cost of an employee goes up then the responsibilities and duties of that employee goes up – employers always try to wring every ounce of worth and every penny of cost from their employees, nothing would change here if a minimum wage was set. As a business, you would be a fool to pay more without getting more work completed from the employee.

      And who says you have to hire unskilled workers?? You hire them because they have some “skill” or can perform some task, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      To Libertarian Tue.22/FEB/2011 06:50   Once again you come out in support of wealth distribution in favour of the money man.You always seem to be against the lower paid getting ahead.Could you please give us a list of people "not worth the minimum wage".Since you seem like you pay your staff the bare minimum ,I take it that you are able to pass on this saving to your customers, so could we get the name of your company so that we can all take advantage of your great prices?

      • Anonymous says:

         Low wages here are due to a lenient immigration policy, nothing more.  The more lenient they are, the more local ‘unskilled’ workers are directly competing with people from poverty stricken countries, and the more businesses are profiting from social capital.  A minimum wage is a distraction, and will become yet another political football.

        Second, if someone wanted to work for me below a minimum wage, why should it be illegal?  I did it.

    • Adam Smith says:

      FIFTH – outsourcing.  Firms will have an even greater incentive to move lower end jobs off island.

  18. Michel Lemay says:

    It is disapointing that a mininum wage of a mere $5 was not met by the current gvt. It’s a shame and I feel that they don’t want ANYTHING coming from Mr. Miller or the OPPOSITION that may benifit some of us the little people to pass. I find that even $5 an hour for many jobs is a mere pittance considering the cost of living. A victory for the cheap labor being used in an almost slavery way. West Bay remember that; that is why many of us can’t get a job. Oh I forgot, don’t even mention getting paid overtime aven if they work 60 to 80 hours. That has to change.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Five dollars an hour for a minimum wage is a global joke in the world fith biggest finacial centre. %

  20. Anonymous says:

    The problem with the minimum wage, it will affect the work permit holder and increase the cost to the employer. The lower paid employees would gain, while the employer would have to pay out more. The government would not be game for such an atrocity against their supporters. Who Would? The members who touted minimum wage before election should have supported it, in the best interest of the people. What a web we weave, who are they trying to deceive?