Rwanda today joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Labour Day with the main celebrations slated to take place in Rubavu District, the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) announced Monday.
Thierry Mpamo, the ministry’s Public Relations and Communications Officer, said the International Labour Day will be celebrated at Rubavu’s Umuganda Stadium at the national level, under the theme “Promote productive employment for rapid development.”
Mpamo provided a country labour fact sheet indicating that the overall employment statistics which show that unemployment rate in Rwanda stands at 16.7 per cent, meaning that for every six persons in the labour force there was one person unemployed.
The unemployment rate is higher among women (17.5 per cent) than among men (16.1 per cent) and higher among young people (21%) than among adults (13.3%). Unemployment among university graduates is 15.9 per cent.
It is noted that to address the problem of unemployment in general the Government will continue to implement all interventions and initiatives to achieve the objective of unleashing Rwanda’s full employment potential by creating at least 1.5 million productive jobs by 2024.
During an interview, Francois Ntakiyimana, the Executive Secretary of the Congrès du Travail et de la Fraternité des Travailleurs (COTRAF), a labour union, told The New Times that workers’ rights have backpedaled a lot.
Ntakiyimana said: “Market prices have increased as well as transport fare yet an employee’s salary remains the same. There has been delays to revise the minimum wage; it is now 44 years. We request the Government to establish a new minimum wage.”
Last May, trade unions renewed their demand for the Government to set a new minimum wage that matches current economic realities and protect vulnerable workers. Union officials said it is unfair to continue relying on a minimum wage that was set over three decades ago. The present minimum wage, set in 1980s, is at Rwf100 per day.
Ntakiyimana also called for more efforts to protect mine workers. He also previously told this paper that more efforts are necessary to warrant the safety of construction workers countrywide.