SOA and Minimum Wage
This was a busy week for us. We made a submission on minimum wage on Monday, and presented a submission on the Sexual Offences Act to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
Our submission on minimum wage was handed in at the Ministry of Labour. We called for the government to use real figures for the average person's expenses, and base minimum wage on that instead of simply raising it by the inflation rate every year. We also called for cutting the workday from 8 hours to 6 hours (in legislation, this would mean overtime pay would start after 6 hours instead of after 8 hours), and thus we would have a 30-hour work week instead of a 40-hour work week. With cutting the work week like this, minimum wage would need to be risen by a minimum of 33.33%. We therefore called for raising it to 215 JMD per hour immediately, while urging the government to raise it to a more sensible figure afterwards. By no means are we deluded to think that even 215 JMD per hour is sufficient.
Months ago, we made a submission to the Joint Select Committee responsible for reviewing the Sexual Offences Act; on Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to make an oral presentation on our submission. Our submission consists of multiple recommendations, but the our presentation largely focused on child grooming and the redefinition of rape. Other organisations presented as well, and we ended up participating in the ensuing discussion. We were rather upset, but not too shocked, that a coalition was calling for the preservation of laws on marital rape, which prevent a married woman from denying her husband consent to sex unless they are formally separated. We made it clear in our own submission that that entire section of the Sexual Offences Act should simply be scrapped. Certain individuals - claiming to represent "God" and "the church" - are adamant that we preserve these laws.
On a more refreshing note, some of our members participated in a small group discussion on Political Activism in the 60s and 70s, yesterday. It was hosted by Equality Youth and led by Dr. Maziki Thame. It has made us more confident in the approach we are taking, while grounding us in the present-day realities of our society.
With all the above said, our Central Committee will meet soon to pass several resolutions on internal party matters. Additionally, you can look forward to opinion pieces being published on Fridays, in the coming weeks. We also plan to produce a position paper on the Special Zones Bill, and speed up the process of formalising our position on the situation with the USA's aggressive actions in the DPRK, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba.