The government of Cameroon is again on the hot seat, due to mounting pressure to improve standards of living for all citizens. The Conglomerate of Trade Unions and Civil Society Organizations of Cameroon has demanded a 113,730 FCFA rise in the minimum wage, to match the recent fuel price hikes as well as steady rise in cost of living in general.
The conglomerate comprised of over 25 different trade unions and civil society bodies from different walks of life made the demand in a release where they decried the fact that the country has been witnessing continuous inflation for over ten years, but little or no adjustment to salaries, and announced ‘no work days’ once a week for the next one month.
“In the face of insecurity which continues to gain ground and hit the common citizens hard in their daily life… and also institutional insecurity directly targeting social actors, intellectuals, journalists, human rights defenders, threatening to muzzle free speech, the state is increasingly failing in its obligation to protect citizens…” they explained.
In addition to this, they further cited the fact that many “economic crimes” including the COVID-19 fund mismanagement had gone unpunished, coupled with the 2023 Finance Law which “adopted oppressive and repressive tax measures against the poorest and most vulnerable categories of people in our society.”
They further addressed the most recent – increase in prices of fuel, a decision they termed “derisory and risky”. In view of these grievances, the conglomerate outlined a 14 demands for the government to grant, to ameliorate living conditions across the country.
Among them, is “the increase of the SMIG (Minimum wage) from 36,270 FCFA to 150,000 FCFA and its indexation to the annual inflation rate.” The trade unions further requested the hierarchical increase in salaries in the public and private sectors, the revaluation of family allowances taking into consideration the current cost of child maintenance, subsidisation of basic necessities for vulnerable persons, the creation of a regulatory agency for Cameroon’s water sector, as opening of investigations into cases of various crimes, and making the findings public.
As part of efforts to compel government to yield to their demands, the conglomerate members have instituted an Anglophone crisis-type no-work days.
Their demand is for “workers of the private and public sectors to observe a work stoppage every Monday of the week from February 15, 2023 until March 15, 2023. Other measures involving the entire social body are under study and will be announced in the coming weeks,” they added.
The Conglomerate’s call follows a decision by government on January 31, 2023 to raise fuel prices. Announcing the move, government also made known a 5.2% rise in the salaries of civil servants to cushion the shocks.
In the same announcement, the Secretary General at the Prime Minister’s office said government was set to concert with the necessary institutions, to raise the minimum wage, a figure it had proposed to take to 41,000 FCFA.
Poise News Desk