Minimum wage a form of oppression

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Dear Editor,

Re: Minimum wage editorial

Manaia lou manatu Keni! I’m sure a lot of people would also agree with you on this issue. Minimum wage in Samoa needs to be increased inline with inflation and the very high cost of living. Even with a member working some families are still not earning enough money to cover all their basic necessities.

While others are fortunate enough to receive help from relatives overseas, and some have steady good paying jobs in town or make a good living from their businesses which can absorb the high cost. The majority of the working population is in the minimum wage category.

Now have a look at the disparity between the Government ministers who make well over $100 thousand tala a year.....get extra perks like travel allowances, petrol card and department vehicle, mobile phone and account, diner functions with colleagues and family, mostly paid for by their department. 

And don’t forget the nice fat envelopes received when they’re guests of honor at functions. Now compare that to a poor person who would be lucky if they got $2.30 hr × 40 hrs = $92 tala a week. Now times that $92 tala × 52 weeks = $4,784 tala per year.

Wow and some of these ministers are against minimum wage rise? Why would they? Why would anyone be against minimum wage rise? 

Well it’s a form of oppression and a poor population is easier to manipulate, fool and mislead.

They just don’t care and are so out of touch with the poor peasants who voted them into parliament. Their only concern is they get paid, stuff the rest of us.

James 5:1-6 warns of the judgment for the rich who oppress the poor.

The rich who trust in the accumulation and pursuit of wealth at the expense of faith in God will be judged. The rich who become exceedingly rich at the expense of the labour of the poor will be condemned. 

Oppression takes many forms such as to – swindle the poor, mistreat, deceive, cheat them of their rightful wages.

Another problem in Samoa is not enough job opportunities. Some people would argue if you don’t have a job go work the land. Well you can work the land all you like but you would still need money to pay for running water, electricity and other basic necessities. And not everyone can sell all their crops and make a living off the land. So just imagine and wouldn’t it be nice if you could go to the E.P.C. office at Vaitele and pay your cash-power with a taga talo..hahaha.

The other thing is not everyone has access to farm land. Some move into town for financial gain and educational reasons. Some live with relatives and others will lease a small piece of land to build a home. If people had the same opportunities where they’re from then they probably wouldn’t have left their village?

Also lately people have been very critical and making remarks about how embarrassing for Samoa Observer to post these stories of poor people. Ahh they sound like someone who has never carried a pakeke vai or did their homework with a moli matagi. O

r maybe their families have made it out of poverty and they themselves have forgotten what it was like be struggling financially. 

I am glad Samoa Observer has highlighted these poor people’s unfortunate situation. There are a lot of charitable people with big hearts that want to help. So if you’re not helping or donating anything then don’t judge or criticize these poor families and what the Observer is doing because the government and churches should be helping these desperate people.

Anyway it would be great if the minimum wage was raised up to say $3 - $3.50 tala, that would be a good start and government can help by revising its policies to help stimulate the private sector with incentives and subsidies. After all didn’t Stui say the private sector is the backbone of any economy...

How do leaders serve their people? They may pay good wages and treat employees with respect. John C. Maxwell.



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