Muscat – The rise in cost of living and high inflation – close to 3.6 per cent at the end of March – needs immediate intervention and a revision of the minimum wage for citizens in the private sector, a high-ranking official of the General Federation of Oman Workers has said.
The minimum wage for the private sector was set by Ministerial Decision No 222/2013 that came into effect on July 1, 2013.
The call was made by Nabhan al Battashi, chairman of General Federation of Oman Workers, on Monday, when the federation celebrated International Workers’ Day under the patronage of H E Dr Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba’owain, Minister of Labour, in the presence of representatives of private sector institutions and trade unions.
Battashi said, “Our celebration of International Workers’ Day is a way of identifying with the struggle of workers, their continuous sacrifices, and the grave challenges and difficult conditions they face.”
Elaborating on the difficulties faced by private sector workers due to rising costs, he said, “According to statistics published by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the average wage of nearly 24 per cent of Omanis insured in the social insurance system is between RO325 to RO400.
“Nearly half of the insured Omanis get less than RO500 as salary, while the average household expenditure has risen to RO757. The situation calls for immediate solutions to improve the social security of citizens in order to ensure a decent life for them and their families.”
He added that with the gradual lifting of subsidies on a number of goods and services, and high rate of inflation (according to March 2022 data), there is need to improve the bottom line wages and set up of a national social security protection system.
“We demand the establishment of a national committee that includes all concerned parties to review and amend the minimum wage, in addition to creating a special temporary system to support the wages of low-income workers. We also call on private sector institutions to set a time frame for improving workers’ wages and encourage wage-raising initiatives,” Battashi said.
According to H E Sheikh Nasr bin Amer al Hosni, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour, “we are close to reaching a consensus with stakeholders” on amending the minimum wage.