ILO expert discusses introduction of national minimum wage with Mauritian PM
Francois Eyraud mentioned that the introduction of a minimum wage fixing system cannot be complete in one day, for instance United Kingdom – being the most recent country to have introduced it – has taken three years to adopt the minimum wage fixing system. (Image: ITCILO)
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) expert on minimum wage, Francois Eyraud, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam, yesterday October 16, 2014 to discuss the introduction of a national minimum wage.
Francois Eyraud, Executive Director of the ILO and Director of the ILO Training Centre in Turin, Italy, was accompanied by Mauritius Labour Minister Shakeel Mohamed.
The ILO expert shared with the Prime Minister his first impressions of the first day of meeting with national stakeholders which he deemed ‘encouraging’ in terms of coming up with appropriate solutions to the minimum wage issue.
Francois Eyraud also stated that he was impressed by the country’s ability to adapt to different situations while pursuing its development.
Regarding the evolution of the labour market, he highlighted that Mauritius has to face challenges, similar to those of rich countries.
“The country has to obviously uphold a reasonable standard of living for its citizens as well as withstand international competition from emerging countries”, he said.
His current visit to Mauritius is in context of a national tripartite workshop which was held from 15 to 16 October, 2014 at the Maritim Hotel, Balaclava.
The objective of the workshop was to examine the recommendations of the draft Report of the Study on the Introduction of a National Minimum Wage in the private sector.
The draft report was prepared by Francois Eyraud alongside Verena Tandrayen-Ragoobur, Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics at the Social Studies and Humanities Faculty at the University of Mauritius.
Entitled ‘The Minimum Wage Fixing Challenge in Mauritius,’ the preliminary report aims at providing stakeholders with operating tools to help them understand the way of elaborating a minimum wage system.
These recommendations will help in finalising the report for the eventual Government’s approval.
The existing Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery is considered to be complex with two complementary minimum wage support systems: the Remuneration Order System and the Annual Salary Compensation. Accordingly, the draft report recommends that no additional new system is advisable because it will make the mechanism more complex to manage and coordinate.
The draft report also recommends that the salary fixing machinery must be replaced by a system, which is simple, coherent and efficient.
For his part, Shakeel Mohamed stressed the importance of collective bargaining as a critical tool for introducing a national minimum wage system in Mauritius.
He also encouraged the practice of collective bargaining for issues of national interest, and expressed confidence on reaching a consensus over the minimum wage issue through effective bargaining.
Additionally, he stated that concrete recommendations are being made towards the adoption of a national minimum wage in the private sector.
Next, François Eyraud gave an insight on the implications of introducing a national minimum wage system in Mauritius by presenting several social and economic achievements of Mauritius during the past years to reach where it stands today as well as its vision to be a high income country by 2020.
According to him, social and economic dimensions are the two essential factors in the preparation of the draft report on the introduction of a National Minimum Wage.
Also, the latter mentioned that the introduction of a minimum wage fixing system cannot be complete in one day, for instance United Kingdom – being the most recent country to have introduced it – has taken three years to adopt the minimum wage fixing system.
In addition, he stated that the collaboration of each tripartite constituent is needed to reach a consensus.
It is recalled that the minimum wage is a labour market mechanism used in majority of countries worldwide to assess minimum salary payable to employees.
A total of 116 member States have ratified one or both Conventions of the ILO on minimum wage fixing and many other countries have established minimum wage fixing procedures even though they have not ratified the Conventions.