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Wage increase could force hike in timber prices

November 1, 2012 12:05 am

While an announcement of a minimum wage increase covered under the Wages Regulations Orders may be welcomed by workers in the logging and sawmilling industry, the same can’t be said for sawmillers.

Fiji Sawmillers Association President, Jay Dayal, says while it is their social responsibility to take care of their workers, this latest announcement by the government will have an impact on timber prices.

The minimum wage rate for workers in the sawmilling and logging industry has increased by 10.4 per cent.

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“It will add to our cost of doing business. A ten per cent increase for one employee may not be a very big amount but when we look at the annual figure that we pay for salaries and wages, that’s definitely going to have a significant impact on the costing and returns on investment for a lot of sawmillers. It will all be reflected in the future on the cost of doing construction. If you want to build your house, then timber will be expensive if the cost of doing business is more.”

Dayal says they had expected such an increase and the best they can do now is to comply with the order.

“We sort of have to live with it now and comply. There’s very little we can do at the moment. Some members would be disappointment but some who are doing well will be ok with it.”

FBC News has sought comments from the Labour Ministry.

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