Mozambicans tighten belts as prices keep rising - Photos
in file CoM
The Mozambican Labour Ministry on Monday announced that this year’s discussions on increases in the minimum wages have ended and the proposals will now be submitted for approval by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).
The discussions took place behind closed doors in the Labour Consultative Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating commission between the government, the trade unions and the employers’ associations.
The Ministry spokesperson, Emidio Mavila, told reporters that consensus had been reached between the employers and the unions, but he could not reveal any details. “At this session, we are not announcing the figures”, he said, “because it is up to the Council of Ministers to approve the national minimum wages for each sector of activity”.
Mavila said that the new minimum wages are based on the macro-economic indicators for last year, notably the growth if the gross domestic product. Unlike 2020, there had been positive growth in 2021, which Mavila put at 2.16 per cent. Some sectors had seen a decline in production, but overall “growth was positive”, he said.
As a result, “we think the rise in the minimum wage can be slightly higher, when compared with the increases of last year”.
But Mavila admitted that inflation in the first quarter of this year (3.34 per cent, according to the National Statistics Institute, INE) had not been take into account.
The representative on the CCT of Mozambique’s largest trade union federation, the OTM, Andre Malate, said that negotiations to recover workers’ lost purchasing power had been difficult, and marked by the country’s current difficulties, such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the continued terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
“But it’s important to say that, although the negotiations were difficult, they were the ones that were possible”, added Malate. However, “the workers’ expectations have not been met”, and he recognized that this will not please trade unionists.
The ideal monthly wage, for a worker with a seven member family, would be 30,000 meticais (about 469 US dollars, at the current exchange rate), said Malate. None of the current minimum wages, fixed last year, come anywhere near this figure – the lowest minimum wage, for fishermen on Lake Cahora Bassa, is 4,402 meticais a month, while the highest, for financial services, is 13,410 meticais.
The chairperson of the labour portfolio of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), Paulino Cossa, claimed that the wage rises took into account the current economic dynamic of the country.
“Wage rises will always represent the dynamic of our economy”, he said. “In this case that’s the dynamic of inflation and other economic factors, such as the rise in fuel prices”.