Major Issues of Wage Policy in Africa

  • Elliot J. Berg

Abstract

The framing of an effective wages policy is nowhere easy, but is especially difficult, and especially important, in developing areas. The degree of government control over wage determination, whether direct or indirect, tends to be greater in these areas, so the impact of public policy decisions is sharper and more extensive. The consequences of error are greater, in both political and economic terms; no element of economic policy touches more sensitive political nerves, none is so capable of shaking the fragile foundations of the state itself. In the poor countries, furthermore, there is less income to distribute, at the same time that social goals tend to be generously defined; between social objectives and budget restraints or market imperatives the gap is distressingly large.

Keywords

Migration Europe Rubber Income Tuberculosis 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Cf. Kenya Colony, Report of the Committee on African Wages (Nairobi, 1954)Google Scholar
  2. Tanganyika, Report of the Territorial Minimum Wages Board (Dar-es-Salaam, 1962)Google Scholar
  3. ICFTU, Labour College, Kampala, Submission to Uganda Minimum Wages Board (Kampala, 1961)Google Scholar
  4. ICFTU, Report of the First African Regional Trade Union Conference, January 1957, p. 143Google Scholar
  5. L. Katzen, ‘The Case for Minimum Wage Legislation in South Africa’, South African Journal of Economics, XXIX, No. 3, September 1961, pp. 195–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 2.
    C. H. Northcott, ed., African Labour Efficiency Survey, 1947 (HMSO, 1949), pp. 86 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Cf. FAO, Nutrition and Working Efficiency, Freedom from Hunger Campaign, Basic Study No. 5 (Rome, 1962), p.23.Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    The New Scientist, August 20, 1959, cited in Jack Woddis, Africa: Roots of Revolt (London, 1960), p. 165.Google Scholar
  9. 5.
    Cf. FAO Africa Survey, Report on the Possibilities of African Rural Development … (Rome, 1962), pp. 24 ff.Google Scholar
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  11. W.O. Jones, ‘Food and Agricultural Economies of Tropical Africa’, in Stanford Food Research Institute Studies, Vol. II, No. 1, February 1961, p. 5; FAO, Nutrition Meetings Report Series, No. 25, p. 21.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    The African Factory Worker, p. 176; African Labour Efficiency Survey, p. 88; Tanganyika, Report of the Territorial Minimum Wages Board (Dar-es-Salaam, 1962).Google Scholar
  13. 3.
    D. G. Bettison and P. J. Rigby, Patterns of Income and Expenditure, Blantyre-Limbe, Nyasaland (Lusaka, Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, 1961)Google Scholar
  14. D. G. Bettison, Cash Wages and Occupational Structure, Blantyre-Limbe, Nyasaland (Rhodes-Livingstone Communication No. 9, Lusaka, 1958)Google Scholar
  15. Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, Report of the Committee on African Wages (Nairobi, 1954)Google Scholar
  16. Southern Rhodesia, Report of the Urban African Affairs Commission, 1958 (Salisbury, 1958)Google Scholar
  17. D. G. Bettison, ‘The Poverty Datum Line in Central Africa’, Rhodes-Livingstone Journal, Human Problems in British Central Africa, No. 27, 1960Google Scholar
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  19. 4.
    Cf. FAO, Nutrition and Working Efficiency, pp. 21–22; CCTA, op. cit., ch. I.1 Cf. B. Thomson and G. Kay, ‘A Note on the Poverty Datum Line in Northern Rhodesia’, in Rhodes-Livingstone Institute Journal, Human Problems in British Central Africa, December 1961, pp. 40–49. In Blantyre, Nyasaland, the cost of a nutritionally satisfactory diet was found to be half the cost given in the PDL study for that city: 50 cents per adult male per week. See D. G. Bettison and P. J. Rigby, Patterns of Income and Expenditure, Blantyre-Limbe, Nyasaland, Rhodes-Livingstone Communication, No. 20, Lusaka, 1961, p. 110.Google Scholar
  20. 2.
    See Northern Rhodesia, First Report on Urban Budget Surveys, 1960 (mimeographed), Tables 8 and 9Google Scholar
  21. Southern Rhodesia, Second Report on Urban African Budget Survey in Salisbury, 1957/58, Tables IV and VI; Bettison and Rigby, op. cit., Table IXGoogle Scholar
  22. T. Poelman, ‘Ghana’s Urban Food Economy’, Food Research Institute Studies, May 1961.Google Scholar
  23. 3.
    Thus an analysis of budget data in seven African cities suggests that a 10 per cent rise in wage income would probably lead to a 6–9 per cent rise in spending on meat. See H. Kaneda and B. F. Johnston, ‘Urban Food Expenditure Patterns in Tropical Africa’, Food Research Institute Studies, II, November 2, 1961, pp. 260–265.Google Scholar
  24. 2.
    See East Africa Statistical Department, Uganda Unit, The Patterns of Income, Expenditure and Consumption of African Unskilled Workers in Kampala, February 1957, p. 8. Labourers originating in the Congo and Ruanda Urundi, and in the distant (poor) regions of Uganda, saved in 1957 at four times the rate of Ganda labourers.Google Scholar
  25. 1.
    The best expressions of these arguments are to be found in Tanganyika, Report of the Territorial Minimum Wages Board (Dar-es-Salaam, 1962); and Kenya Colony, Report of the Committee on African Wages (Nairobi, 1954).Google Scholar
  26. 1.
    Cf. W. Watson, Tribal Cohesion in a Money Economy (Manchester, 1958)Google Scholar
  27. J. Van Velsen, ‘Labour Migration as a Positive Factor in the Continuity of Tonga Tribe Society’, in Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol. 8, April 1960. See also, for general discussion of the economic aspects of migrationGoogle Scholar
  28. W. Elkan, Migrants and Proletarians (London, 1960).Google Scholar
  29. 1.
    Cf. P. H. Gulliver, Labour Migration in a Rural Economy, East African Studies, No. 6, Kampala, 1955, p. 35, for an expression of something like this argument.Google Scholar
  30. 1.
    Cf. Federation of Nigeria, Report of the Fact Finding Committee on the Minimum Wage Question (Lagos, 1955).Google Scholar
  31. 2.
    Cf. the account of responses to wage increases by the Northern Rhodesian copper industry, in Robert E. Baldwin, ‘Wage Policy in a Dual Economy — the Case of Northern Rhodesia’, in Race, IV, No. 1, November 1962, pp. 81–82.Google Scholar

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© International Institute for Labour Studies 1966

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  • Elliot J. Berg

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