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£10 Minimum Wage From October 2022 Refused

Another attempt to increase the minimum wage has failed.

Deputy Geoff Southern wanted it to be £9.15 from this October 2021 and £10 an hour from October 2022.

It is currently £8.32. It isn't due to change this year.

He also wanted the Employment Forum to be removed from the process to decide what it should be, but it was rejected by five votes.

"How come we've got a minimum wage that is below that of Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and the UK?

"We know, because we've done the work, it's 20% more expensive at least to live here than it is in the UK - yet our minimum wage has fallen behind our nearest competitor.

"What are we doing wrong that we haven't at least kept up with them?" - Deputy Geoff Southern.

He was supported by several States members during the debate including the former Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois, who said there never seemed to be a good time to do it.

The newest States member, Constable Andy Jehan, also backed it - he said voting against this increase doesn't support the government's mantra to put children first.

However, opponents to the increase argued that it isn't the right time to do this given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. They also called for fellow politicians to allow a consultation process on the issue to proceed first.

That consultation, which started last week, is looking into process for setting the minimum wage each year to see if it should be done differently.

It will also consider when and what the next increase should be. The survey runs until the end of May and can be found here.

"It's just a short, six week (consultation). It is a concentrated consultation, it is a meaningful consultation and that is where (States) members should be putting their effort, making sure their views, the people they represent's views, are known and when it comes back we will act on that." - Deputy Judy Martin, Social Security Minister.

Assistant Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden called the proposal 'really disappointing'.

"In 2022, the island will be recovering from two of the hardest years in recent history. We need to encourage a rapid recovery of our economy.

"A political commitment to an arbitrary minimum wage figure with no understanding of the consequences is, in my opinion, the last thing we need to be signing up to right now."

That part of the proposition was eventually defeated by 25 votes to 20.

One part of the proposal was successful. That asks the Jersey Employment Forum to look at whether, and if so when, the minimum wage could be at the same rate as the living wage.

The living wage is £10.96.

The leader of Reform Jersey, Senator Sam Mezec, called the £8.32 minimum wage 'a poverty wage' and not enough to live on.

He said the government needs to come up with alternative ideas for a fairer Jersey.

"What is their proposal instead? What will they do to improve life for the lowest paid people in Jersey? Do they have a proposal waiting around the corner?

"Do they have anything more than we'll just listen to what a consultation says, because that is not a substantive answer."

Deputy Geoff Southern previously tried to increase the wage to £8.66 an hour from 1 April 2021, and Deputy Rob Ward wanted the same wage from October 2020. Both were rejected.

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