MAPUTO- Mozambican Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo has urged the Labour Consultative Commission (CCT) to negotiate the new statutory minimum wage rigorously and in good faith, so as to reach proposals whic satisfy all sides.

The CCT is the tripartite negotiating forum involving the government, the unions and employers. Every year it negotiates a set of new minimum wages, which it then proposes to the government. The new minimum wages take effect from April 1.

Opening the first meeting of the CCT this year here Friday, Diogo called on CCT members to negotiate with responsibility in order to reach balanced and consensual results.

She said the negotiations must always take into consideration the real situation of the country, and the need to keep companies open, defend existing jobs, and create new companies, stressing the inter-dependence between employers and workers. One side does not exist without the other. There are no winners and no losers, she stressed.

I am convinced that we shall continue to act in a thoughtful manner and, above all, with a high sense of patriotism and realism. Our central goals are better jobs, keeping jobs, improving the living conditions of workers and their families, and the prosperity of the companies, added Diogo.

Adjusting the minimum wage, she added, should favour an increase in productivity, in the profitability of companies and in the competitiveness of the Mozambican economy.

Diogo announced that about 361,000 jobs should be created this year but even if this figure is accurate, it is not enough because projections from the 2007 census show that well over half a million young Mozambicans will reach the age of 18 this year enter the labour market.