Focus groups providing insight for minimum wage

| 31/10/2014

(CNS): The minimum wage advisory committee has said it is already gaining useful insight into the position of the wider community on the introduction of a minimum wage. Government has begun a long process towards the eventual introduction of a basic rate of hourly pay that no person should be expected to work below. Having created a committee earlier this year it is now going into public consultation and is urging more people to register forthe closed-door focus group sessions scheduled for Friday. Having already undertaken sessions on the Brac and at the Family Life Centre in Grand Cayman Thursday night, officials said the information coming in is proving very useful.

The MWAC is tasked with coming up with the recommendation for the regime and rate that the wage will be set at, as at present it appears government will be looking to implement different rates as a result of what are perceived as the different circumstances surrounding the hospitality sector and the most vulnerable people in the local community  — helpers.

Although the PPM government campaign on the introduction of a minimum wage, the employment minister Tara Rivers who ran with the Coalition for Cayman did not. The minster has still not given her full support to a minimum wage and has talked about a “livable wage” but she said that the government she is a part of is committed to implementing a minimum wage regime.

Following a meeting on the Brac last week the committee had its first focus group on Grand Cayman last night with youth people aged 17-24 years old. Some 14 individuals took part in what officials said was “a great discussion…providing great insight for the MWAC.” The next two session will be at the Family Life Centre on Saturday morning and the committee is urging more people to sign up to take part.

There is a morning focus group at 10am for business and household employers and then in the afternoon at 1pm there will be a focus group for employees in business and households as well as unemployed Caymanians. Anyone who wants to take part can register by emailing Open public town hall meetings are expected to begin in January and in the meantime people can take the online survey here.,8229740&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

All of this information will be used by the committee in its final report to government which had been expected in October. The ministry recently announced however that because the situation ‘was complicated” the committee needed more time. Its report is now is expected in February next year, delaying the introduction of what many people see as a much needed first step in addressing the significant exploitation of workers.

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  1. Roman says:

    As a UKOT surely our minimum wage should mirror that of the UK? What's good enough for Mum must be good enough for baby.


  2. haranguer rides again. says:

    Raise permit fees on those traditional low wage occupations and let the free market force employers to raise hourly rates so that more Caymanians will be willing to work in these occupations.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is pathetic to see some posters thinking that the reason we have crime and criminals here is because the perpetrators cannot get a job paying a minimum wage. Does anyone apart from these retard posters really believe this? Our criminals are lazy, gangsta, drug ridden, anti-social thugs and have been in most cases since they were the age of 10. Just ask the teachers in the schools. And by the way, most of them -95% or more- are true born etc Caymanians.

    A Teacher.

    • Anonymous says:

      19:27, aboslutely correct, now forever referred to as "Cayman's Unemployables".

  4. Anonyanmous says:

    Caymanians open your eyes and read the Vision of Sir Lynden Pindling in his own words by Patricia Beardsley and in the very first chapters you will notice the play book.  In the words of George Santayana "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it'.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The minimum wage will remain $0.00 for all the unemployables.

  6. peter milburn says:

    I doubt very much if and when the various committees draw up their battle plan whether Govt will seriously want to upset the Status Quo.Too much lip service going on in the day to day running of Caymans affairs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    nobody who is working is asking for a minimum wage……..

    its only the lazy unemployed who think they shuld be paid as lawyers to server drinks……

    • ROD says:

      The system that is in place is so unfair they hire poor people from around the world to work here and pay them 3.50 to 5 ahour knowing that creates  problems. The right starting piont in Cayman should be at 10 to 12 dollars a hour. The evil we do these EXPATS because they will take any thing is wrong on all levels. The rich create jobs and alot of problems with them. Most Caymanians know the right rates for the jobs they apply to but when u run in to this permit system in action where u can get cheap labour and treat them any way you want. We Caymanians cant win against that, so we are made out to be the bad one's who dont want to work. Free people can not compete against slaves that why we need to free the slaves and pay them what is right. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is this government incapable of making any important decisions.  Focus goups set up to look a minimum wage is just plain wrong on every level.  Everyone cat and his dog knows a minimum wage is a must, the only question is how low or high do you set it and when will it be implemented.  Which industries will be most affected by it, do you have a phased in approach etc.  Get off your assess government and govern.  Its what you were put in power to do not continually procrastinate and hid behind consultation after consultation, report after report.  Just do it.

    • Anonymous says:

      07:46, the entire Country and everything within it will be affected by the introduction of a minimum wage, EVERYBODY will be affected. It does not affect one or two industries, it affects the entire Country.

      They need to look at the cost of living first and foremost before they can even begin to decide what the minimum wage should be.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Another delaying tactic.  Why ask people what the minimum wage should be.  Surely in Gods Holy name there are enough educated people in government to be able to make that decision.  This wont go anywhere.  Same old same old.

  10. RP says:

    Why only 14 people aged 17-24 participated? Is that the extent of our unemployment in that age group? Or is it because the minimum wage is not really the reason for the unemployed in that age bucket?  The time frame for the meeting does not seem to conflict with school or job search as it was "last night".  

    Can someone answer that question please?  I would have thought that the room would be packed as many believe this to be the reason for unemployment in Cayman.  Why wAsnt the room full? Are the young unemployed not concerned about a minimum wage? 

    Why is the committee appealing for people to attend when this is such an important issue? Or is it?

    • Anonymous says:

      The simple answer could be that this age group are notoriously difficult to mobalise in most societies.  There was no concerted effort to target these young people to "have their say".  Also it could be that these young people actually don't feel they know anything about economics (a bit like the government) to be able to make an informed contribution to the debate.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is an important issue. But not for the (living wage) rasons people site. A minimum wage is important for those (often but not always) imported staff working 'slave wages'. Its not going to help the 'working poor' who are trying to raise a family and establish a household in Cayman. Thats another even more problematic issue. (See recent stories in UK press about rising of living wage level and the bussinesses there that pay below that level, i.e., pay minimum wage.) I think the lack of attendance at the minimum wage meetings is down to two factors (1) advertising (think how much big companies spend on advertising vs how much is spent on public consultation; this isnt' a knock per se but a recognition of reality). (2) Recognitiont hat minimum wage is not going to be a big change. A necessarry change, to protect people dsperate enough to not protect themselves, but not a big change for most Caymanians. The people it will affect most – the staff wroking $3ph jobs now, are alreay the ones least likely to speak up for themselves for a variety of reasons. The minimum wage standard is society speaking up for them. And (2.5) most of us just expect the government to finally get this done. (I did go to one of the meetings myself, but I'll speak for those who didn't go. 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    When cream cheese is being given away for free on the moon to anyone who can go and get it, then we will have a minimum wage above ci$12 an hour!! The business community are raping this country and lavishing away with money they should pay a decent wage to their staff, but they too used to the sweet life to give any of that up, so we will suffer as Government cannot afford to say NO to their croonie friends or they wont get invited on their yachts, prvt planes, elaborate parties etc. This PPM rule is worse than the UDP or whatever they call themselves now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians don ot want a minumum wage because they is used to exploiting imported gardeners, house keepers and child minders.  

  13. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage could be the solution to lots of issues. 

    1/ Unemployment and low end imported labour… A $6-$7 minumum wage would be too expensive for the average family that has a helper. The helper would be let go, one parent would stay home to care for the children. Freeing up the surplus job for someone that needs it more

    2/ Education, and crime for future genrations… Having a parent raise a child might actully instill some character in the young people.

  14. The Thinker says:

    I've lived in other countries and can tell you that minimum wage laws always sound good, but when businesses have to pay higher and higher wages, two things happen:  They must cut their labor force and raise prices.  It happens every time.  Is that what you want?

    • Slowpoke says:

      Would you like to submit some evidence to your beliefs?

      Oh, there is none?

      • Anony-me says:

        Any other questions?

        But I take your point. Clearly those of us who care need to keep reviewing the want adds and posting them here for those of you that don't read them.

        Today's Compass (6 Nov. 2014)

        – DJ, 10 years experience, $1,000 per month – Assuming a 50 hr work week thats $5 per hour. With a decade of experience in your profession. Fair? A tiler w/ less expereince makes $12-$15 and a tatoo artist w/ 5 years experience makes $2,000 per month. Both one add down from the 'unfair employer'. Shoot, Tropical Collections is looking for an Accounts/Store Clerk (3yrs exp) fo $1,900 pm "and discretionary end of year bonus plan based on performance". So, if I were in the market to place adds on a radio station I wouldn't take my business to Rollaz Entertainment. But if this Christmas I end up shopping in Tropical Collections I won't feel bad because I know the clerk woring hard in the Christmas rush will probably be getting a little something extra for the extra work. As it should be.

        The point isn't whether I can find 'sub-min' jobs advertised on a given day or not (or even who Rollaz Entertainment is; in their defence their DJ may be part-time in whcih case $1kpm is good) its that bad employment exists. And if I can find someone paying $5ph for 10 years expereince you can be sure there is someone out there paying less than that for less experience since we don't have a minimum wage law in place to protect people. And you may be supporting their bussiness . At least thats the point today.

    • Anony-me says:

      Yes. – There are currently restaurants on West Bay Road that I deliberately do not eat at because of what I consider the unfair labour advertisements I have seen when they are looking for staff. (Sub $5ph posts with no gratuities, dishwashers 'experienced in Italian restaurants', bussboys 'able to handle our specific Point Of Sale system with no training'.) it may be that other restaurants are just as bad and I just haven't seen their adds but, to answer your question, yes, I am willing to pay higher prices by not supporting the 'unfair', i.e., 'below minimum' bussinesses.

      I do not believe a fair minimum wage, which is a MINIMUM, (not a needed living wage, thats another issue) will unduly raise prices. If you're not already paying a fair minimum then you have an unfair bussiness plan and should be rejected by the free market. But, if you really want to let the free market sort it out, instead of a minimum wage lets have every bussiness – including personal employers – publish the take-home remuneration of their staff. Then the free market can decide, as I have done, which of the bussinesses/people we don't want to support. Until the free market steps up the heavy hand of regulation in the form of the blunt instrument which is the minimum wage is the tool available to society.

      • Anonymous says:

        Must be nice to be able to choose where to eat out, when the rest of us can only afford to eat at home.

        • Anony-me says:

          It is. I'm eating my self-cooked brown-bagged lunch (spaghetti) at my desk as I do most days so that I can eat out when I choose to. I can't afford to eat out every day but when I do I have the choice of where I go. I don't owe anyone my money.

  15. Anonyanmous says:

    Pay peanuts and you will get monkeys.  Monkeys are known to steal and act agressive, thus the increase in crime and violence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Monkeys might be a better option.

    • Cowitch says:

      "Technically, if you pay peanuts you should get elephants. If you feel you need to upgrade to monkeys you should probably pay bananas. If you decide that you need the works of Shakespeare you will need an infinite supply of bananas, but fortunately you will save some money because they will only need typewriters and not computers".

      Stolen from Tekguy on XOOPS, but I could not have said it better myself!
    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Such thinly-veiled racism is crass.
      Good to see it out in the open tho

  16. Anonymous says:

    Te committee will gather information from the public, concluding there is a desperate need for a 15$ minimum wage to be able to afford to live.

    The government will gladly receive the info and then business will cal and everything will be forgotten.

    Profits are increasing, public funds are used for personal enrichment of gambling addicted politicians and the people suffer.

  17. Anonyanmous says:

    Keep meeting with your focus group on what a minimum wage should be; as I see it the criminals are also meeting and putting their plan in action, they are robbing people all over the islands nowhere is off limits now.  This is foolish while Rome burns Nero fiddles. Government come down from your ivory towers and do the job that you were elected to do.  Deal with UNEMPLOYMENT, CRIME, MINIMUM WAGES FIRST AND FOREMOST! 


    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians are the elected members.

      Perhaps its time to ask for some help

      I feel your anger and I am glad you use a pen instead of a gun

      All of your problems are your own problems 

       Its time you let someone with a clue from the real world run this place your people have failed

       I am sorry to say but the fact is the smart caymanians left long ago

      • Anonymous says:

        Some smart expats are going too.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes caymanians run these committees but a lot of them have traded in their morals for money a long time ago. The embarrassing part about that particular $5 per hour job was that it was by a reputable caymanian.

        But I dont believe that the smartest caymanians have left this island a lot of them are here but a lot of them are the ones making big money and forgot the poorer people.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it may be too much to repair and too late.

        Almost everyone will know of at least one person leaving the islands for good  this month.

    • Anonymous says:

      I trust that the concept of a minimum wage will also lead to the advertising of these bogus jobs designed for expats to get. I hope also there will be though given to right pay for qualifications. Its pathetic when there is advertisement calling for someone to have a bachelors degree but only want to pay $5 per hour.