Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tucta sticks to Sh250,000 minimum wage

The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) has challenged the government to increase the minimum salary to Sh250,000 in the coming fiscal year as to reduce income poverty among workers. Speaking to reporters on behalf of the Union’s acting general secretary, Mr Sylvester Rwegasira, said the current minimal wage of Sh104,000 was not enough compared to the actual economic situation. Mr Rwegasira, who is also the secretary general of the Tanzania Railway Workers’ Union (TRAWU) was presenting Tucta’s general analysis of the 2010/2011 budget tabled in parliament recerntly. In 2006 Tucta had suggested a minimum wage of Sh315,000, but the government responded by only increasing the rate to Sh104,000.
Last month, Tucta issued an ultimatum for a countrywide strike to press for workers’ rights, including the minimum wage of Sh315,000. According to Mr Rwegasira, Tucta is continuing with negotiations with the State ministry, President's Office, Public Service Management, on the three basic workers’ demands.
“Tucta officials are still engaged on negotiations with the government to raise the minimum wage to at least Sh250, 000,” said Mr Rwegasira. The Tucta demands were centered on three main issues: Improvement of pension schemes, reduction of high income tax rates and increase of the minimum wage.
Commenting on the pension schemes, Mr Rwegasira said the budget did not provide solutions on how to improve workers’ retirement benefits. “The budget has talked about improving workers’ social welfare but you cannot talk about welfare without ensuring better retirement benefits,” The union has also criticized the government decision to reduce income tax by only one per cent, saying the decision would not benefit low income earners. Mr Rwegasira said Tucta has suggested an income tax reduction of at least ten per cent, compared to the reduced amount of 14 per cent of the total gross salary beginning next month.

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