Why Don't they (Leaders)stop their trips Overseas? Ingesaidia Wananchi angalau kuongeza kima cha chini Monday, May 9, 2011, 6:50 Habari kuu, The african Meeting ends in stalemate Govt to increase minimum wage by 6,000/- only By Sylvester Joseph THE government is unwilling to raise minimum wage for civil servants to be 315,000/- as per the demands of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA), The African has learnt. This was realized after last Thursdays meeting that brought together government representatives and Trade Unions leaders to discuss the fate of workers salaries, failed to come to a consensus. According to impeccable source who attended the meeting, government representatives refused to agree to the proposal given by TUCTA, a condition that forced TUCTA to refer the matter to the Minister of State Presidents Office Public Service and Management, Hawa Ghasia, for further action. We discussed the issue for a long time. However, representatives sent by the government refused to agree with us on the minimum wage. So, we have referred the matter to Minister Ghasia, who is supposed to take action within 21 days as per the requirement of labour laws. So as at now, we are waiting for what she will say. It is only then that we will know what to do, the source said. The informant said after 21 days, the minister could either plead with trade union leaders to go back and talk to the government to see a way of striking a balance on the wage issue, or the matter could be referred to the court for legal ruling. Just as it was in 1994, workers presented their proposal for salary increment and the government was not ready to offer. The matter was taken to court and fortunately enough, we presented our facts and the court ruled in favour of workers. It is the same principle. Cost of living has gone high. It does not tally with the minimum wage offered. This is the same thing we tell the government, but it seems as if they dont want to understand, said our source. He said the government was proving to be smart in giving promises without implementation, referring to President Jakaya Kikwetes May Day address, where he promised an increase in the minimum wage which will be incorporated in the 2011/2012 budget, while the officials sent by the same government to discuss the issue did not respond positively to workers request. Information leaking from that meeting said the governments was ready to top up by only 6,000/- an average of increase of 200/-a day or 150/- an hour on the present minimum wage. The state wants an employee who gets a minimum wage of 135,000/- to pocket 141,000/- per month by July. While the current minimum wage is set at 135,000/- the highest wage for civil servants is 3,000,000/-. According to data from TUCTA, the ratio is 1:22. In other words by average one person, who gets a maximum wage, can pay salaries to at least 22 civil servants who receive minimum wage. Some Trade Union leaders who attended the meeting include the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) President, Gratian Mukoba, TTU Secretary General, Yahya Msulwa, Professor Hamza Kiko, Dr. Diwani Mrutu, Adelgunda Mgaya, Ali Kiwonge and Edna Mwaigomole When The African asked TTU President Gratian Mukoba, why TTU is seen to be playing a bigger role in pushing for the increment, he said teachers were the most affected among employees and they form more than 50 percent of all civil servants in the country, most of them fall in the category of those who get minimum wage. It was thought the ongoing economic hardships due to increased cost of living that have been contributed by high food and fuel prices coupled with low morale the government will be influenced to change heart and pay reasonable wages. But since the productivity has declined due to power shortages the government feels jittery to increase the wage bill. The fate of workers is now in the hands of Hawa Ghasia who has to find a better formula to reduce the stalemate and accord a pay that was humane and conducive to increased productivity. The trade union leaders can either continue with the talks, or wait for courts ruling or stay calm and wait to receive what the government pittance has added in their salaries.