The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) is contented to release position paper of Somali trade unions in developing national minimum wage policy that will pave the way for the enactment of legislation that will set a historic precedent in the protection of Somalia’s low-earning workers.
Since Somalia expressed its intents to ratify ILO convention 100 on equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value as well as other important conventions, FESTU and affiliated unions believe that the spiralling cost of living justifies an urgent introduction of the minimum wage to cushion Somali workers from the prevailing economic challenges.
Rising inflation and prices have had a devastating impact on ordinary citizen’s incomes for those lucky enough to be in work, condemning many to abject poverty, despite the reported economic growth of Somalia in the past three years.
Tightening workers’ belts does not make the economy grow, whereas paying workers more promotes growth, because they spend more on goods and services which stimulates more production and more jobs.
FESTU deems the minimum wage as the primary means for workers to fight poverty, close the wage gap and address broader inequalities in our society. Minimum wage will indicate the level below which no Somali worker must be paid. It will create a new dispensation for the country’s most vulnerable workers and will bring Somalia in line with international best practice.
The federal government, trade unions and employers agreed progressive draft labour law, national employment policy (NEP) and comprehensive social protection policy. All these efforts are geared to alleviating poverty and fighting inequality.
Somali workers want a decent living wage, and minimum wage is the best possible direction for the country to take to lift workers out of poverty and narrow the widening wealth gap.
FESTU voices its deep appreciations to the ILO, the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) and the African Regional Organisation of International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC-Africa) for the support accorded to its efforts in coming up with trade unions’ position on minimum wages.