The Labour Consultative Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating forum between the Mozambican government, the trade unions and the employers’ associations, has reached consensus on this year’s increase in the statutory minimum wage.
The proposal, approved at a CCT meeting on Tuesday, is for increases of between six and 18.7 per cent, depending on the sector of activity. The proposal now goes before the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), which, judging from previous years, is almost certain to approve it.
There is no longer a single minimum wage. Instead the negotiations over the minimum wage have covered 15 sectors and sub-sectors. The highest percentage rise, of almost 19 per cent, is for the mining industry, while the lowest, of six per cent, is for workers in salt extraction.
The proposed new monthly minimum wages are as follows (with the old wages in parentheses):
- Agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry: 4.150 meticais, (3,642 meticais), an increase of 13.94 per cent;
- Industrial and semi-industrial fisheries: 5,115 meticais (4,614 meticais), an increase of 10.8 percent;
- Kapenta (Lake Tanganyika sardine) fishery, on Cahora Bassa lake: 4,063.5 meticais (3,780 meticias), an increase of 7.5 per cent;
- Mining (large companies): 8,263.78 meticais (6,963 meticais) an increase of 18.68 per cent;
- Mining (small companies, quarries and sandpits): 5,799.78 meticais (5,201.6 meticais), an increase of 11.5 per cent;
- Salt pans: 5,018.04 meticais (4,734 meticais), an increase of six per cent;
- Manufacturing industry: 6,620 meticais (5,965 meticais), an increase of 10.98 per cent;
- Bakeries: 4,700 meticais (4,335 meticais), an increase of 8.42 per cent;
- Electricity, gas and water (large companies): 7,796 meticais (7,256 meticais), an increase of 7.44 per cent;
- Electricity, gas and water (small companies): 6,422 meticais (6,002 meticais), an increase of seven per cent;
- Building industry: 5,786.7 meticais (5,436.7 meticais), an increase of 6.44 per cent;
- Hotels and tourism: 5,878 meticais (5,328 meticais), an increase of 10.32 per cent;
- Non-financial services: 6,250 meticais (5,525 meticais), an increase of 13.12 per cent;
- Financial services, banks and insurance companies: 11,987.6 meticais (10,400 meticais), an increase of 14.4 per cent;
- Micro-finance institutions: 10,570.56 meticais (9,240 meticais), an increase of 14.4 per cent.
- Missing from this table are the government’s own employees in the public administration, defence and security. The government will announce their wage increase later.
In US dollar terms, at Thursday’s exchange rate, the new wages are equivalent to between 82.16 and 139.29 dollars a month.
Since the annual inflation in 2017 (based on the consumer price indices for the three largest cities, Maputo, Nampula and Beira) was 5.65 per cent, the new minimum wages all represent an increase (albeit very slight in some cases) in real wages.
But they do not compensate for the cut in real wages that occurred in 2017. Then the statutory minimum wage rose by between 5.5 and 21 per cent, which was below – well below, in most sectors – the 2016 inflation rate of 21.57 per cent. Mozambican workers have yet to recover from that hit to their living standards.
The government, on the proposals made by the CCT, only sets the minimum wage in the private sector. All wages above the minimum are set through collective bargaining between the employers and the trade unions, in each company or workplace.