The work week order should be altered to read any five days in seven consecutive days

Dear Editor,

The attack on Mr. Akeel by Yarde and others is totally uncalled for since he rightfully pointed out by overtime calculation the costs associated with the implementation of the Mondays to Fridays work week.  I am sure employers are not unwilling to pay overtime in excess of normal hours worked, but to make it mandatory for overtime to be paid for Saturdays and Sundays, irrespective of their work schedule will impose an unnecessary burden and may result in negative outcomes.

It is a normal reaction that if labour costs increase too much, employers may hire fewer workers, or cut back on training and educational programmes for existing employees and introduce cost cutting methods such as re-engineering, that is, combining two jobs into one, thereby harming those whom the minimum wages are designed to benefit.  What is to prevent an employer from combining the job of a trainee worker and waiter into one, and pay half of the saved wages to the retained employee?

That apart, the contract of employment defines the relationship between an employer and employee detailing hours of work, so I wonder whether there are any provisions in the new order to prevent employers from changing a weekly contractual arrangement to a daily one in order to avoid paying overtime.

Mr. Akeel, like myself, is supportive of the $35,000 minimum wage which is still inadequate since I cannot see someone earning this purchasing a low income 620 square foot home for $4.9 million dollars.

If Mr Akeel, as alleged, is an advisor to employers, then it is obvious that he will represent their interest, similar to Patrick Yarde et al as trade unionists, representing the interest of workers.

It is natural for Patrick Yarde and the T.U.C. to feel elated at the new minimum wage, since it represents a 42% increase in some cases but I do hope the same enthusiasm will propel them towards negotiating a minimum wage of fifty thousand dollars, for public servants with the concomitant increases across the board.

This will enhance a little extra for those poor public service pensioners who are receiving 50% on the minimum band 1 scale, which still will be $10,000.00 below the minimum wage of $35,000.00.
Finally, I humbly submit that the order should be amended to cater for any five days as the work week, within a seven days consecutive period.

Yours faithfully,
D. Sookdeo

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