NCA Cautions Against Price Hikes Due To Minimum Wage – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Saint Lucia’s National Consumers Association (NCA) is concerned that a proposed minimum wage in circulation for comments and objections, could create a backlash for consumers and employees.

The draft minimum wage order appeared in a Thursday, May 16, 2024 extraordinary edition of the Government Gazette.

The draft outlines a wage of $1,126 monthly or $6:50 per hour, excluding other remuneration due to en employee from overtime, a share of service charge, a commission, a bonus or profit sharing.

National Consumers Association President Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis said: 

“When I saw the draft through the Gazette my first concern was small businesses, medium sized businesses or large businesses taking advantage of consumers and trying to use that minimum wage increase to increase the price of goods and services.”

“I want to send a strong message out there that the National Consumers Association will be monitoring and looking to see if there are any increases in prices of the goods and services as a result,” Fitz-Lewis told St. Lucia Times.

“What we want businesses to do is to start looking at strategies for controlling their cost,” the NCA President stated.

She said that would include comparing raw material prices to obtain value for money and partnering with other businesses to procure employee uniforms.

Fitz-Lewis explained that such measures, including recruiting employees who would not negatively impact productivity, could contribute to lower operating costs.

She also warned that some businesses may seek to reduce staff numbers.

However, she advised paying attention to the service offered, noting that some business houses have poor customer service because they do not want to invest in training their employees.