~ Government also awaiting Cost of Living Assessment.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- The Minister of Labor Omar Ottley confirmed on Wednesday at the weekly council of ministers press conference that his ministry is busy working on adjusting minimum wage especially since the cost of living of St. Maarten is soaring.
Asked by SMN News what exactly government is doing to assist minimum wage earners the Minister said he signed off on an advice and sent to the SER for their advice on adjusting minimum wage. He said the intention is to add a one-time indexation to the minimum wage for the missed years. Ottley said as soon as the SER sends back the advice he will act accordingly. The Minister assured that his ministry did what is needed but they must wait on the advisory body for a response.
The Minister of Labor said that just last week the Minister of TEATT Roger Lawrence presented government with the increased food prices and they have been working collaboratively to address the problem. Ottley said the soaring food prices is a worldwide situation but that does not mean government will accept it all.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in her comments relating the matter said last week’s, meeting was a follow-up meeting; and that government asked the departments within the Ministry of TEATT to provide government with answers relating to the skyrocketing of food prices. She said that several recommendations were also made. Jacobs said her government is looking at a multi prong approach besides looking at wages. Jacobs said her government took note of the complaints about wages in general including within government, thus she has asked the personnel office of government to bring forward some solutions to the existing problems.
The Prime Minister said prior to the policy that is being worked on by the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of General Affairs also requested the SER to provide a cost of the living assessment. Jacobs said that the SER is supposed to finalize and approve a report which will be shared with government within short.