Raising minimum wage not being discussed — minister

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — In an interview with a local media channel on Tuesday, Minister of Labor Nayef Al-Steitieh said there can be no talk about raising the minimum wage, which currently stands at JD260, even in light of current inflation, when the Kingdom has not yet fully recovered from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.اضافة اعلان

President of the Workers’ House Hamadah Abu Nijmeh told Jordan News that raising the minimum wage is not a decision the government can take alone; it is decided by a committee that includes representatives of workers, employers, and the government.

“The last time that the tripartite committee raised the minimum wage, it also agreed to reassess the situation at the beginning of each year, so by postponing the assessment they are breaking a rule they had established,” Abu Nijmeh said.

“There is need to raise the minimum wage in light of rising rate of inflation, which has had a negative effect on the country’s poverty rate,” he added.

The public’s purchasing power has decreased; a JD260 salary “does not cover even the basic needs of a family,” Abu Nijmeh said.

Economist Zyan Zawaneh pointed to another issue related to minimum wage.

“With the current general budget, almost 60 to 70 percent of the budget goes to paying salaries, and yet all we see is an increase in the public administration’s bureaucracy,” he said.

“Any raise of the minimum wage imposed on the private sector is basically a preamble to raising public sector wages as well,” he added. “But in the case of the private sector, that increase will be reflected in production costs, which leads to a situation worse than the current one,” Zawaneh said.

“What we actually need is a tax cut program, which will minimize production costs for the private sector, leading to reducing prices and therefore increasing money flow in our markets,” he said.

“Another issue we need to tackle is over-employment in the public and private sectors and the qualitative rather than quantitative hiring in both,” he added.

Abu Nijmeh disagreed, insisting that “there is no alternative to raising the minimum wage, because it affects the poor working people and does not directly contribute to tax revenues”. 

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