Vice President of the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association, Vasco Bastian has been outspoken about the impact that the rise in minimum wage would have on the ability for gas stations to maintain staff levels. As of January the new minimum wage of $260 per week is now in effect and Bastian says that the schedules of pump attendants have been cut to offset the rise in operational costs.
“The minimum wage increase came onboard and we weren’t able to adjust our model per se to offset that increase. So the least we could do in this industry or we have done in this industry is reduce the working hours, some by a day, some by two days but no more than a day or two. So person who typically would work forty hours is now working thirty two hours or if you work three days or we try to bring you on, some work half a shift and then you work another half. Most of it we reduced their hours by about a day.”
Bastian also appealed to the government for a meeting to discuss long term industry issues. “We want to sit down again with the Prime Minister, with Minister Michael Halkitis and the Financial Secretary Simon Wilson and try to bring this to an end. We are struggling, we had a band-aid put on some of the wounds but now the wound is so big we need stitches.”