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Minimum wage to be reviewed as the cost of living shoots up

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The worker’s union has said that the issue of minimum wage in the private sector must be addressed, especially in the wake of rising costs and household expenses.

At an event on Monday, it was revealed that according to statistics published by the competent authorities, the average wages of nearly 24 per cent of Omanis insured in the social insurance system are between RO 325 to 400, and that half of the insured are generally below RO 500.

According to the National Centre of Statistics and Information, the average household spending has gone up to RO 757.Shaikh Nasr bin Amer al Hosni, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour for Labour, praised the role played by trade unions during the Covid-19, which affected the workforce in several companies.

He said a Community Social Dialogue Committee is reviewing the minimum wages. It includes the Ministry of Labour, the General Federation of Oman Workers and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).

The issue of wages was studied in the first meeting and will be studied in the upcoming meetings to reach an agreement between the three parties, noting that there are issues related to wages, the most important of which are inflation and other economic data.

He said the number of new workers, including expatriates, who have entered the job market in recent times indicate that private health and education sectors and construction are showing signs of recovery and growth. Bank lending has also increased, which is a good indicator which points towards economic recovery.

“This situation calls for the need for immediate intervention and finding solutions to wages and improving the social security of the citizens to ensure a decent life for workers and their families’’, said Nabhan al Battashi, Chairman of the General Federation of Oman Workers (GFOW).

He added, “With the gradual lifting of subsidies for the number of goods and services, and high rates of inflation, there is a need to review the wages system and the adoption of the national social security system.”

Al Battashi said the revision of the minimum wage requires consultation with all stakeholders as there are concerns it may lead to further hikes in goods and services and slow down investments, which can adversely impact the economy.

He said a specialised study would soon begin to review the minimum wage, and it may be assigned to a specialised company to see the extent to which the minimum wage can be developed as per the available data.

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