Jersey's key hospitality lobby group has slammed proposals to increase the minimum wage even further, claiming it will "unfairly" hit the industry when it is already struggling with rises in alcohol duty.
The comments came from Jersey Hospitality Association CEO Simon Soar, who argued that making accommodation more affordable should be prioritised instead as a way of addressing difficulties arising from the cost of living on the island.
The minimum wage is set to raise to £8.32 on 1 April following recommendations to the government from the Employment Forum, but Deputy Rob Ward has now put forward proposals to push it up by another 34p before Christmas.
If approved by States Members, the Deputy's suggestion would see the hourly sum rise to £8.66 from 1 October 2020.
The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, wants to transfer £300,000 from the General Reserve to fund a 'productivity plan' for low-pay sectors before the end of 2020.
Ahead of the proposals being voted on by politicians on 21 January, the Jersey Hospitality Association has voiced concerns about the effect it will have on its members.
Pictured: Simon Soar, the CEO of Jersey Hospitality Association.
“The Jersey Hospitality Association is disappointed to see an attempt to further increase the minimum wage when pay within the industry has been rising at a higher rate than RPI," JHA CEO Simon Soar said.
"The JHA has already looked carefully at the Employment Forum’s recommendation to increase the minimum wage by 3.8% from 1 April to £8.32 per hour and feels an attempt to include an additional increase in October will hit our members unfairly."
Instead, the JHA is suggesting the government should look into the rising price of accommodation and how it is "disproportionately affecting islanders on lower incomes" rather than targeting wages further.
The proposals come just a few weeks after the States Assembly voted to increase the alcohol duty in 2020 in this year's Budget by 12% for wine and beer and 14% for spirits.
"How many more cost increases are members of the hospitality industry expected to absorb?” the JHA asked.
Last summer, Mr Soar had already warned the industry was being squeezed amid staffing difficulties, adding that a chaotic Brexit would only worsen these, hitting tourists, locals and the whole island economy in the pocket in the process.
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