Discontent in Mauritius

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.net)
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 09:55:48 -0700

** Topic: Labor Anger In Mauritian Workers Unions **
** Written 6:32 PM Nov 9, 1996 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <labornews@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Labor Anger In Mauritian Workers Unions



Discontent in Mauritius

Brussels, October 29 (ICFTU OnLine): The decision by Mauritian
Prime Minister Nuvin Ramgoolam to renege on his promise to
increase workers' salaries is leading to growing discontent on
the Indian Ocean Island, according to the Mauritius Labour
Congress (MLC), the country's main trade union centre.
During his election campaign last year Mr Ramgoolan, then leader
of the opposition Labour Party, had pledged to raise Mauritian
salaries by 15%. But he soon went back on his word, claiming that
Mauritius's economic situation and its public deficit did not
permit a pay review. According to the MLC, an amount of 700
million Rupees (42 million dollars) was secretly transferred to
the Bank of Mauritius to deliberately and artificially increase.
the budget deficit. Exposure of the transfer, three months ago,
led to the resignation of the then Finance Minister.
Following a complaint by the trade unions, the civil arbitration
tribunal, whose decisions are binding for both workers'
representatives and management, recently ruled that public sector
workers' wages should be increased this year by the equivalent of
three annual increments. Yet the government is refusing to
implement the decision and has maintained the wage-freeze.
According to the 68,000 strong MLC, the government's refusal to
abide by the Tribunal's award is adding to an already tense
situation and "industrial action has become inevitable".
Wages in Mauritius are traditionnally low and demands by trade
unions to raise the minimum wage (approximately 400 dollars) have
been largely ignored by successive governments since 1988. An
unprecedented national strike that year brought the island's
economy to a standstill with some 300,000 workers downing their
In a letter to Prime Minister Ramgoolam, the ICFTU urges the
Mauritian government to respect the Arbitration Tribunal's
judgment and to open talks with the trade union movement with a
view to adopt economic policies, taking account of the social
For details contact ICFTU Africa desk at: ++32 2 224 02 17.Other
OnLine news on Poptel Bulletin Board ICFTU-Online for geonet
users and on the WWW at:

** End of text from cdp:labr.global **

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