The Jesuit centre for theological reflection (JCTR) has advised the government that the upward revision of the minimum wage should be done under very clear policy direction of how to deal with the resulting high cost of production.
JCTR has NOTED that the Patriotic Front Government, recently made pronouncements that it’s in the process of reviewing the minimum wage provision as contained in the statutory instruments number I, II and III of 2011 and the pronouncement has been followed by country with work stoppages calling for better salaries and wages and improved working conditions of service.
The organization has stressed that Successful formulation and implementation of a comprehensive labour market policy, requires systematic evaluation of both the weaknesses and strengths of existing policies.
It has stated that this is pertinent as it will enable the government develop a clear roadmap in tackling the challenges in the Labour Market among them, low wages.
JCTR says a carefully evaluated and coordinated Labour Market Policy, which would take into account both the employee welfare as well as the cost of production, is cardinal in avoiding plunging the economy into price-wage spiral inflation.
it says a wage increases if not accompanied by increase in production levels of an economy only result in an increase in prices of commodities, in response to high cost of production following high cost of labour.
The organization has observed that High inflation rate just like low wages will again work to the disadvantage of the already disadvantaged low income groups as the increase in the general price level of commodities may be more than the percentage increase in the minimum wage.It says there would merely be an increase of cash in people's pockets while their purchasing power remains the same if not lower which may further have a negative impact on the already high levels of poverty among Zambians adding that While people will be getting high nominal wages, they will still not be able to meet the cost of basic food and essential non food items