Employers should be allowed to organise a 40-hour week to suit their operations

Dear Editor,

As discussed in your columns recently the Order in respect of the new ‘National Minimum Wage’ is not to be taken ‘sleightly.’

Even members of the programmed and selectively committed are waking up to the full implications of the legislation quoted therein as informing the observance of the ‘new Order.’

Incidentally the writer has been corrected regarding the current efficacy of the Factories Act Cap 95:02 referred to in the Order, since it is understood to be currently inactive.

While bowing to such advice, it seems only appropriate to invite the Minister of Labour to pronounce on a matter that must be of more than a little concern to manufacturers.

But the more provocative provision of the Order is that of the 40 hour week being specifically restricted to only Monday through Friday. Interestingly the Minister seemed indifferent to the cost implications for his former GuySuCo so far as its factory and other hourly-paid employees are affected. It is therefore not difficult to apprehend his further indifference to the impact on payrolls for all those businesses and particularly small businesses which must operate on a Saturday to capture that extra customer market. The hospitality industry will similarly be affected. They all are left with little or no scope to arrange different 40 hour work shifts.

The situation can possibly be described as ‘hot soup’ and unpalatable to even to the usual supplicants.

But on balance it seems unnecessary, if not overly simplistic, that employers would not be allowed to organise a 40 hour work week to suit the peculiarities of their operations.

Yours faithfully,
EB John

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