MAPUTO, — The Labour Consultative Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating forum for the Mozambican government, the trade unions and the employers’ associations, claims to have reached consensus over this year’s increase in the statutory minimum wage.

At the end of a CCT meeting here Monday, its general secretary, Joao Loforte, said the CCT proposal will go before Tuesday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), which will decide whether to approve it.

He decline to reveal details about the proposal on the grounds that it was the prerogative of the government to announce new minimum wages.

Despite Loforte’s claim of consensus, the trade unions say they are are unhappy with the proposal. Alexandre Munguambe, the General Secretary of the OTM (Mozambican Workers’ Organization), the larger of the two trade union federations, told reporters: “We are not happy with this wage adjustment. These are the numbers that are possible, and they do not please us. In Mozambique, there has never been a wage increase, just adjustments.”

“This year was a very difficult year for the unions because we were faced with serious problems such as floods and armed conflict. With these indicators, we all had difficulties in reaching consensus,” he added.

Victor Miguel, Deputy Chairman of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), said the consensus reached at the CTA would make it possible to keep jobs “and not suffocate the economy”.

According to figures published by the National Statistics Institute (INE), and based on the consumer price indices of the three largest cities — Maputo, Nampula and Beira — inflation in 2015 was 10.55 per cent. Hence to maintain workers’ purchasing power, the wage increase needs to be at least that large.

Since 2007, there has no longer been a single statutory minimum wage. Instead there are different minimum wages for different sectors of the economy. Some of these are broken down into sub-sectors, so that last year there were no less than 14 separate minimum wages.

The government only determines the minimum wage. In the private sector all wages above the statutory minimum are determined by collective bargaining. The new minimum wages are always backdated to April 1.