Labour Senator Andre Lewis has called on the Ministry of Labour to “step up efforts” to ensure employers adhere to the new Minimum Wage Order, which came into effect on January 1.
His plea comes in the wake of reports of a salary dispute at Ram’s Grenada Ltd., a recently opened supermarket in the south of the island.
Sen. Lewis cited the need for the Ministry to ensure that employers prominently display the new Minimum Wage Order notice in the workplace, expressing concern over reports of disgruntled workers at Ram’s Grenada Ltd., who allegedly walked off the job on Monday, due to non-compliance with the legislation.
The Employment Act states that every employer affected by a minimum wage order shall post in a conspicuous place a notice fully informing the employees of the contents of the order.
According to Section 53 of the Act, an employer who violates this section commits an offence, and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three(3) months.”
Sen. Lewis, who is the current President of the Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC) advised the affected workers to bring the matter to the attention of the Ministry of Labour and pledged the support for their cause by the umbrella trade union body.
“You do not have to be in a union for us to speak for you…the law sets the minimum standard…the workers can rest assured that the Grenada Trade Union Council will do what is necessary,” he declared.
“Certainly, they can bring it to our attention (and) we will follow up on it.
Certainly, they should all go to the Ministry of Labour, who we know would deal with the matter forthwith (and) the population should come out and condemn these workplaces that are doing that,” said the GTUC President.
The Supermarket has since released a public notice refuting the allegations of non-compliance with wage laws.
According to the statement, which was posted on its Facebook page Tuesday, Ram’s Supermarket indicated that “management has not been able to verify reports of a staff walkout”, and has also “not been able to confirm its origin.”
The statement reads in part that “Ram’s Grenada Ltd., proudly employs over 100 Grenadians, and will continue to take great pride in supporting our committed team.”
One prominent Grenadian who reacted to the statement from the newly opened supermarket said it “is so weak, it means nothing.”
The minimum salary or wage to any working person in Grenada will be no less than EC$1,200 per month or no less than EC$60 per day according to SRO No. 42 of 2023, which was gazetted on December 15.
Section 54 of the Employment Act states that an employer who pays less than the rate of wages prescribed in a minimum wage order commits an offence and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $5,000 on the first conviction and a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
The law also said that where it is found that an employer paid less than the rate of wages prescribed in a Minimum Wages Order, the Court shall order the employer to pay to the employee or employees, the difference between the amount which should have been paid, and the amount which was in fact paid and interest on that amount where appropriate.
The last time changes were made to the Minimum Wage Order was in 2011 under a previous Congress administration led by former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.