Maputo — The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved new statutory minimum wages, based on the proposal submitted by the Labour Consultative Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating forum between the Mozambican government, the trade unions and the employers' associations.
There is no longer a single national minimum wage. Instead, different minimum wages are negotiated for nine sectors of activity, three of which are divided into two sub-sectors. There are thus 12 different minimum wages.
The lowest increases, of just six per cent, were granted to workers of the public administration and in bakeries, while the highest rise is 18.48 per cent, for workers in electricity, water and gas.
The new minimum wages were announced to the media by the official government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula, and are largely identical with the leaked version printed earlier in the day by the independent daily "O Pais".
As given by Nkutumula, the new minimum wages, backdated to 1 April, are as follows;
1. Agriculture, livestock and forestry - a rise of 14.71 per cent, up from 2,005 to 2,300 meticais. The separate minimum wage for sugar workers disappears.
2. Fisheries - 8.28 per cent, from 2,475 to 2,640 meticais 2a) The Kapenta (Lake Tanganyika sardines) fishery on the Cahora Bassa reservoir in Tete province - 8.04 per cent, from 2,300 to 2,485 meticais.
3. Mining - 22 per cent, from 2,890 to 3,526 meticais 3a) Quarry and sandpit workers - 14 per cent, from 2,890 to 3,295 meticais.
4. Manufacturing industry - 15.65 per cent, from 3,100 to 3,585 meticais 4b) Baking - six per cent, from 2,850 to 3,021 meticais.
5. Electricity, gas and water - 18.48 per cent, from 3,222 to 3,817 meticais
6. Building industry - 13.5 per cent, from 2,775.5 to 3,177 meticais
7. Non-financial services - 17.13 per cent, from 2,996.25 to 3,510 meticais
8. Financial services - 16 per cent, from 5,320 to 6,171 meticais
9. Public administration - 6 per cent, from 2,380 to 2,522 meticais.
The Bank of Mozambique's average exchange rate is 27.8 meticais to the US dollar. So the new minimum wages are equivalent to between 83 and 222 US dollars a month.
The wage increases mostly outpace the rate of inflation. Inflation in 2011 was 6.14 per cent, but continued to fall in the first quarter of this year. According to figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) inflation for the first three months of 2012 was only 0.6 per cent.