Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Minimum Wage In Trinidad & Tobago

On January 1st 2015 Trinidad and Tobago's minimum wage was increased from $12.50 to $15.00 per hour. Ironically most workers in T&T earn more than the mandated $15.00/ hr anyway, because of inflation and economic crowding out (i.e. wages being bid up because of excessive government demand in the labour market). Therefore the negative effects of the minimum wage in T&T will be contained.
Nonetheless, any honest economic review of the policy reveals that minimum wages destroy opportunities for the lowest skilled and most vulnerable in society because it effectively prices those who have insufficient skills out of employment in the marketplace. 
Simple Supply and Demand explains this: as Price (wages) goes up less is labour is demanded. 
Perhaps this is exactly what the state intends; as the policy ensures there is a guaranteed supply of URP and CEPEP candidates dependent on the state.

In fact; minimum wage laws at times have been described as the most "anti nego" law in existence given that historically negroes were more likely to be found in the lower skilled / poorer classes of society. The minimum wage therefore makes it even more difficult for them to find employment.  

A classic example of this was during South Africa’s apartheid era, white unionists argued: “in absence of statutory minimum wages, employers found it profitable to supplant highly trained (and usually highly paid) Europeans by less efficient but cheaper non-whites.”

One South African union leader said, “There is no job reservation left in the building industry, and in the circumstances I support the rate for the job (minimum wages) as the second best way of protecting our white artisans.”

While the law may appear noble don't be fooled by political gimmicks by politicians who tend to be misguided and uninformed -believing that by drafting legislation they can supplant the laws of economics.

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