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Displeased with some private companies who exploit their workers and pay unfair wages, the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) announced it will soon start to study the wage matrix private workers earn and it will push the government to legislate a minimum wage for private company employees.
The study will be conducted together with Wage Indicator Foundation, an organization launched in 2001 to contribute to a more transparent labour market for workers and employers. The study will examine the wages of workers who are employed in different sectors. Often, the wages of laborers is determined by agreement with employers. Nevertheless, a dozen of them repeatedly request the government to set a minimum wage limit. The workers lament that they are overworked and are paid small.
There is a minimum wage rule for civil workers which is currently 615 birr.
Zerihun Alemu, Vice President of CETU, told Capital that the study will recommend an appropriate wage for errands by classifying them by sectors and levels.
“A wage must be proportionate with the work done by the employee and it is important to keep in mind that all effort is required to build and improve our country’s economy. Investors need to understand that they can’t make profits without the workers. And that workers can’t get salary without an employer.”
“Some argue that setting up a minimum wage will reduce the investment but that’s illogical. Exploiting workers and paying unfair wages to earn more profit is irrational,’’ Zerihun said.
According to the International Labor Office, around 90 percent of countries in the world have legislations that proclaim a minimum wage payment. Ethiopia is part of the remaining 10 percent of nations that do not have such laws.
Tekele Tesfa, an expert in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, said the 377/2004 Labour proclamation which was sent to parliament for amendment will set the ground for the minimum wage law.
“We are glad if a minimum wage is forced into law. I hope the proclamation which is expected to be ratified next year will give the chance for the government to consider the minimum wage line,’’ Tekele added.
Tadele Yimer, President of Ethiopian Employers Federation, said that all stakeholders should collaborate to set minimum wage in Ethiopia.
“Studying the minimum wage floor is not an assignment of one body. The government and other stakeholders should work together. Increasing production, creating capable workers and paying them the right wage is all the things that we must see together,” he addedn