Media plays important role in spreading labour information - October 2011

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The Wage Indicator websites Mywage and Meusalario, as well as the press and other forms of media, are providing crucial information on minimum wages and labour laws in Mocambique, Zambia and South Africa. However, reporting on compliance with labour-related laws is a challenge which faces the media, trade unions and researchers.

There were some of the findings that emerged from an international workshop on minimum wages and awareness raising held in Maputo, Mocambique in October. The workshop formed part of the Minimum Wage campaign being run by Mywage and Meusalario in southern Africa. Included in the workshop were representatives from the media, research institutions, trade unions and governmental departments from Mocambique, Zambia and South Africa. The workshop, organised by Wage Indicator, featured submissions from OTM, Mywage, Meusalario, the Labour Research Service, the Centre for Economic and Management Studies, the ILO and STV station. 

Spreading Minimum Wage information

Participants debated the efficacy of making information such as minimum wages available, and whether the spread of this information could lead to improved labour justice. Several key issues emerged from the series of debates. These included:

  • Many workers are not aware of their basic workplace rights.
  • Many workers and employers do not seem to be aware of minimum wages for their sectors.
  • State-enforced compliance with labour laws and minimum wages is lacking.
  • The trade unions, traditionally seen as a source of information for workers, were not always providing it.
  • There is a need for synergy between ministries, NGOs, trade unions and research units who often work on the same issues, but separately.

Creating dialogue

Egidio Vaz, regional manager for Meusalario in Mocambique and Angola, said the workshop had been a great success in terms of creating dialogue between key players, and debating crucial labour-related issues. “We brought together unions, ministries, journalists and academics to discuss the impact of labour information on workers. While we can feel satisfied that websites such as Meusalario and Mywage are clearly fulfilling a need for free and accessible information, our next step is to look at compliance and how we can report on this”, he said.