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President Horta calls for minimum wage increase in Timor-Leste

President Horta calls for minimum wage increase in Timor-Leste

President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, Image Tatoli

DILI, 21 june 2024 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, urged the Government to increase the national minimum wage from US$115 to US$150.

Horta made the appeal as in Timor-Leste, the current minimum wage does not provide adequate income for a person to meet their own basic needs or the basic needs of their families.

“There are people who have been working for more than ten years and are still paid US$115. These salaries are low and the cost of living is very high. Therefore, it is essential to raise the minimum wage to US$150,” said the Head of State, after the end of a meeting with the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, at the Presidential Palace in Dili.

President Horta acknowledged the need to raise the minimum wage in response to global inflationary pressures. However, he cautioned that this must be implemented through a “strategic plan” by the Government to avoid overly burdening the private sector.

However, Horta stressed that the minimum wage can only be changed after the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (BCTL) and the National Bank of Commerce of Timor-Leste (BNCTL) carry out a feasibility study to see how increasing the wage would not harm the national economy.

 

Every year, Timorese workers always called on the government of Timor-Leste to increase Timor-Leste’s monthly minimum wage from US$115 to US$200.

Aaccording to a joint survey conducted by the Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste (CCI-TL), and KSTL in 2014, increasing the minimum salary to US$200 was sufficient to ensure a good life for Timorese workers.

The scale of Timor-Leste’s minimum wage hadn’t been reviewed since its approval by the National Working Committee of SEFOPE, in may 2012.

Regarding how frequently the minimum wage should be adjusted, the revision of the scale of the minimum wage has to be taken place every two years.

ILO’s Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation, 1970 (No. 135) clarifies that Minimum wage rates should be adjusted from time to time to take into account changes in the cost of living and other economic conditions. In principle, this revision can take place either at regular intervals or whenever such a review is considered appropriate in the light of the variations in a cost-of-living index.

Many workers in Timor-Leste always complained that the set of the current minimum wage (US$115) is too low, as it would have little effect in protecting workers and their families against unduly low pay or poverty.

Timor-Leste’s Trade Union Confederation (KSTL) had so far registered more than 300.000 workers across the country, of which the majority of them earned US$15 per month.

 

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins

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