With the support of the Central Dialogue and the input of the Island Council of St. Eustatius, the public and private sector propose an initial increase of the statutory minimum wage of 10%, excluding the fixed inflation rate. However, the increase should be part of an integrated approach to poverty reduction. The proposal was included in a letter that was sent by Government Commissioner Alida Francis to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment dated October 21 st , 2021.
In addition, the Ministry is also requested to involve St. Eustatius (as well as Saba and Bonaire) in the upcoming debate about the determination of the island’s minimum wage and its affiliated system of benefits. Latter is in relation to the upcoming debate of the motion of Member of Parliament, Jorien Wuite, dated October 14 th , 2021.
The Central Dialogue Statia (the ministerial advisor on behalf of the employers, trade unions, the Chamber of Commerce, St. Eustatius’ Business Association and Public Authorities) fully supports the increase of 10% thereby emphasizing the current situation of the pandemic and its socio-economic impact. Both the Public Entity and the Central Dialogue of St. Eustatius agree however that an increase in the minimum wage and the affiliated system of social benefits/allowances is not the only solution. A more comprehensive and integrated approach is required.
Alida Francis states in her letter: “Both sectors involved are fully aware in their common responsibility for poverty reduction. The systematic and structural reduction of injustice requires an integrated approach, as Bonaire also expresses in the so-called ‘Kralendijk Agreement’, and it requires a decisive effort from the Netherlands.” The proposed initial increase of 10% is consistent with the research findings regarding to the wages in the Caribbean Netherlands. It is excepted that the increase will improve individual perspective on performance, consumer spending and will reduce socio-economic necessities. “Considering the whole, I therefore request the State Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to increase the current island minimum wage by 10%. “, Francis concluded in her letter.