Mozambique: Unions Want Wages That Can 'Buy Something Visible'

Maputo — Alexandre Munguambe, the General Secretary of Mozambique's main trade union federation, the OTM, said on Thursday that, in this year's negotiations on the minimum wage, the unions "are not looking for high wages, but wages that can buy something visible for the benefit of workers".

Speaking in the southern city of Matola, at the opening of a seminar to train union negotiators for the forthcoming discussions on the minimum wage, Munguambe warned that this year the negotiations will take place in "a challenging scenario".

There is no longer a single national minimum wage. Instead each sector of the economy has its own minimum wage. These minimum wages are negotiated every year in the Labour Consultative Commission (CCT) - the tripartite forum between the government, the unions and the employers' associations. The new minimum wages usually take effect as from 1 April.

Munguambe told the Matola meeting that the cost of living is rising continually, and workers are also prejudiced by inefficient public transport, forcing them to catch two or more buses to travel between their homes and workplaces. "Workers have low incomes and are unable to bear this situation", he declared.

He hoped that, in the forthcoming discussions, all sides would negotiate in good faith. "Bad faith should not be used as a strategy by any of the parties", he declared.

"Let us show at the negotiating table that we are mature and experienced", he urged, "and that we can carry out calmly speedy and fruitful negotiations in good faith".

The seminar is only scheduled to last one day. It will discuss several of the key factors that are used in calculating wages - such as the macroeconomic performance of the country in 2019 and the prospects for 2020.

It will also debate proposals for rises in the minimum wages this year, and the negotiating strategy the unions should adopt.

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