Commission to set national minimum wage


Although some public sector institutions and enterprises have set their own minimum wages, there is no consistent minimum wage in Ethiopia. In response to this situation, the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs drafted a labor proclamation to establish a Commission to set a minimum wage.
The proclamation will not set a minimum wage rather establish a commission that seta a base wage across time depending on the economy, cost of living and other factors in order to avoid the hassle of revising the proclamation repeatedly.
“The draft labor proclamation is believed to solve recurrent issues demanding for salary increment, and other work related issues raised by workers particularly in manufacturing sector, says Kassahun Follo, president of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).
The draft proclamation also holds issues that govern private agencies who work in security and other service providing agencies.
There is a high grievance raised by employees of various agencies that the companies swallow more than70 percent of the money and denied maternal, medical leaves besides violating basic other rights.
Labour Unions cannot play a role in organizing workers or advocating for better pay or conditions particularly in industrial parks even though Ethiopian law, in theory, guarantees freedom of association, However CETU ‘s blames lack of attention paid by the government.
“CETU’s effort to establish labor unions in industrial parks bare no fruit except succeeded to establish a single labor union in Eastern industrial zones,” adds Kassahun.
The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country.
Factories in Ethiopia making clothes for top global brands are paying their workers far less than counterparts in other low-paying countries, according to a report by New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights released this week.
The new report is based on a visit to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that currently employs 25,000 people.
Workers in Industrial parks earn less than 30 USD per month. CETU is therefore advocating with government and employers for any new labor law to include an adequate minimum wage.
In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn USD340 a month, those in Kenya earn USD207 and those in Bangladesh earn USD95.
The proclamation is expected to be ratified by council of ministers in the coming weeks.