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Farmers and middlemen to be affected if MWR increases

November 9, 2018 4:05 am

Farmers and middlemen will be affected if the National Minimum Wage rate is to be increased as proposed by some political parties.

Suva Municipal Market middleman representative, Kennard Valentine says some workers could lose their job as some employers will not be able afford it.

Valentine says the increase proposed by some political parties is a lie and people should not believe it.

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”To give $5 an hour, I don’t think they can afford to give that, middlemen, small companies. We middlemen and other small companies which they give $2.50 or $3 an hour and we try to force them and put things down through their throat to give $5 an hour, I don’t think its reasonable way to do things, it doesn’t come easy. Talking is very easy but to work on it is very hard.”

Sixty-one- year-old Sawani farmer Akaripa Korosaya who has been selling produce to middlemen at the Suva municipal market says they will increase the prices of vegetables and root crops if the minimum wage rate increases.

“If they have a pay increase, we will also need more money as farmers. The bulk work is done by us and I knew that other farmers will agree with me. We plough the land, we plant, and we wait for months to harvest. Yes we will increase the prices of vegetables.”

The National Federation Party, SODELPA and the Hope party have proposed a $5, $4, and $10 minimum wage rate respectively.

The current minimum wage rate is $2.68 per hour.

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