Chamber Response to The Employment Forum Minimum Wage Recommendation

Wednesday 3 October 11:21

JERSEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | Press Release | Employment Forum Minimum Wage Recommendation | Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Today’s Minimum Wage recommendation of 6.9% from the Employment Forum is the highest percentage increase that the Forum has recommended in ten years, which represents a significant wage rise. The Jersey Chamber of Commerce advised that whilst wages should rise, caution in the speed of that rise should be applied in these such times of economic uncertainty. 
 
The overall effect of the increase will add over £1000 per year from October 2019 per minimum wage employee to the wage bill of the business. This will also add inflationary pressure to increase other higher salaries, who will be expectant of a similar rise. 
 
The President of Chamber, Eliot Lincoln says: “The Jersey Chamber of Commerce fully understands and supports the desire for improvement to be made to wages, however, the Agricultural, Hospitality and Retail sectors will be most affected, and Chamber has expressed concerns that prices will have to be passed on to consumers, further driving inflation in Jersey. It is vital that these recommendations, if adopted by the States Assembly, are supplemented by meaningful actions and strategies from Government to support our industries through critical and competitive times, by levelling the playing field on discrepancies in GST and Retail Tax, providing promised, but not delivered productivity improvements and by easing the current recruitment crisis for employment permissions in all three sectors."
 
"I am also concerned that having two wage rises six months apart, could put an administrative and therefore extra cost burden on those affected.  The Jersey Chamber of Commerce advised caution to the Employment Forum in overtly destabilising the delicate ‘eco-system’ surrounding wage increases. Particularly at a time of great uncertainty because of Brexit, when retailers face increased competition from online retailers unencumbered by GST, when agricultural industries are reporting decreased and approaching zero profit margins and at the point of recovery against global competition in tourism. Set against this backdrop we viewed an RPI equivalent rise of 4.5% as prudent. It may be that significant wage rises may also cause employers to review their workforce, resulting in lower hours being provided and in extreme cases, job losses”

Press Release

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