After lengthy and sometimes bitter discussions last year the revised labor law is finally in the hands of the Mozambican parliament, the Mozambique News Agency (AIM) reported Tuesday, the International Labor Day.
The employers and the unions reached consensus on most clauses in the bill, but the unions are still fighting to maintain the favorable redundancy pay terms included in the current legislation.
Employers, however, echoed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, claim that decent redundancy terms affect their competitiveness, and want to make it much cheaper to sack workers.
Addressing thousands of workers, who gathered at Mozambique's capital of Maputo in celebration of the Labor Day, Amos Matsinhe, the president of the main trade union federation, the OTM, insisted that the new labor law must respect workers' existing rights.
Workers, he said, want "a society of social justice, respect for human rights, participatory democracy, and a better quality of life for all those who, with their labor and knowledge, are contributing to the reconstruction and development of Mozambique." "We are in favor of decent and secure jobs," declared Matsinhe," and we want wages that help give workers decent living conditions. We want a stable environment in labor relations."
This year, the May Day celebrations were held before any agreement could be reached about the annual increase in the statutory minimum wage.
The matter is under discussion in the Labor Consultative Council, the tripartite negotiating forum between the government, the unions and the employers' associations. There are two proposals on the table - the unions are demanding a 17 percent increase in the minimum wage, but the employers refuse to go above 13 per cent.
The current industrial minimum wage is just 1,443 meticais (55.7 U.S. dollars) a month, which the unions say covers only 50 percent of the most basic needs of a worker and his or her family.