The guaranteed minimum wage (SMIG) and the guaranteed minimum agricultural wage (SMAG) increased once more in Tunisia starting from August 1, 2009.
This increase, the 28th since 1987, will benefit nearly 280 thousand workers. It materialises the Head of State’s decision on the celebration of Labour Day last May. Over the past twenty years, the SMIG (regime of 48 hours) rose from 170.352 dinars/month to 260.624 dinars and from 168.800 dinars to 225.160 dinars for all professions (regime of 40 hours).
As for day SMAG, it rose from 3.050 to 8.019 dinars.
Thus, both minimum guaranteed wages have experienced over that period a noticeable increase of over 140% for SMIG and nearly 154% for SMAG, increases that are as much significant as they are decided in a difficult global economic context.
Such measures earned Tunisia to be ranked by the International Labour Office (ILO) during its Board meeting held in Geneva in March 2009 on the top of Arab and African countries at the level of minimum wages recorded in 2007 and among the top thirty in the world.
Tunisia’s ranking on the top of Arab and African countries in matters of minimum wages is the result of a wage policy based on balance between economic and social dimensions and a strategy seeking to strengthen the labour sector and professional relations, anchor dialogue between social partners and promote the contractual policy.
This policy was strengthened by the signing of several sector- based collective conventions which have reached now over 51 conventions involving nearly 2.5 million labourers.
&The framework collective convention, established in 1973 was revised on three times (1984, 1992 and 2004) while the sector-based collective conventions were revised nine times (1983, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008).
&These rounds of negotiations have brought about substantial improvement in working conditions and successive wage increases since 1990, in accordance with triennial programmes.
Moreover, under the reform of the retirement system set up in 2004, retirement pensions in the general regime of the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) have also increased. This measure will benefit nearly 500 thousand persons as of August 1, 2009.
The interest taken over the past two decades in working conditions and professional relations reflects the attachment to the principle of fair distribution of wealth and the will to preserve the rights of workers, protect their interests and improve their buying power.