The Minister of the Public Service, Labor and Dialogue, Gilbert Bawara exchanged this March 14, 2023 with the economic actors of the plateau and central region in Atakpamé in the presence of union representatives.
They are more than a hundred to take part in the meeting. At the heart of the exchanges, the application of the guaranteed interprofessional minimum wage (SMIG) revalued. Employees, employers and unions, all exposed the difficulties that arise on the ground. Some took the opportunity to make suggestions and recommendations to the Minister of Labour.
It is noted that employees confuse the revaluation with a salary increase at all levels; some employees do not see the measure as binding. Other bosses are thinking of reducing the number of employees to comply with the measure.
As suggestions, among others, it is recommended the intervention of the government for the reduction of interest rates in terms of loans at the level of the financial institutions which accompany the SME and the taking of other measures to accompany the companies in this process.
Responding to everyone’s concerns, Minister Gilbert Bawara specified that the SMIG applies in accordance with the Labor Code. ” We are talking about employers and employees or employees subject to the labor code. This is not the same thing as employees who have the status of public official or civil servant and whose status and situation are governed by the law on the general status of the public service or by special statutes, statutes individuals. The SMIG applies in the private sector. This is a mandatory provision that must be respected by employers. “, he underlined.
Regarding the reduction in the number of employees, Gilbert Bawara asserted that ” it is in no one’s interest, neither the workers, nor the employers, nor the government that the revaluation of the SMIG results in a reduction in jobs or in a reduction in activities. It’s something we have to bear in mind “, he insisted while specifying that there is no uniform solution to apply in all structures. The ideal, according to the Minister, would be to share the concerns and difficulties that a company encounters with the workers who are also an important stakeholder in the structure. A company which is faced with a difficulty, he informs, can resort to a professional organization or even to the direction of labor and social laws for advice.
On the issue of increasing wages in companies, the minister was clear. “The revaluation of the SMIG does not necessarily and inevitably mean the modification of the remuneration grids in companies”, explained Gilbert Bawara. However, he informs that the government encourages companies and employers who can, to do better than what the SMIG provides.
Is it necessary to underline it, this meeting of exchanges, aims to avoid erroneous interpretations of the measurement and to explain to the workers and the employers the need for dialogue, consultation; to maintain a climate of serenity, to promote and ensure productivity in companies. It is initiated by the government jointly with professional organizations of employers and trade union organizations of workers.