Minimum wage headache at TNF

Negotiating Forum (TNF) negotiations seem to be struggling to reach consensus over the issue of minimum wage with parties taking different positions on this issue. Initially the parties had agreed on 50% of Poverty Datum Line (PDL).  Negotiations at TNF are ongoing through the technical committees.

However, in reviewing the negotiations on minimum wage, CZI concerned is that while the issue was important and it should never be looked at in isolation to other fundamentals in the economy. There is need to take a holistic approach with a view to achieve certain milestones which include foreign exchange market stability as the main factor.

Another factor is that basing wages PDL is flawed as this only assumes one bread winner is a five member family, which generally is not the case. The important thing is to address the economy wide distortions. It should also be pointed out that by dealing with the issue of minimum wage at TNF level assumes the role of National Employment Councils (NECs) who mandate is collective bargaining.

To put a blanket minimum wage assumes that all companies across sectors are operating at the same level, which is not the case. Sub sector peculiarities need to be taken into consideration in coming with an appropriate wage structure, a role which NECs play better. However, the main issue is that Government must implement policies and actions that improve stability.