Mauritius Media at a glance: 27 May 2008.
Compensation and Confusion
On Friday 23 May 2008, the Social Alliance Government approved the ridiculously low Salary Compensation which will apply as from 1 July 2008. The compensation had been proposed by the National Pay Council (NPC) made up of representatives of government and bosses, after the trade unionists had effected a walk-out in protest of the method used to calculate the compensation.
As it was, the issue of how to deal with the NPC had already caused a serious split within the trade union movement. But what was printed in the various papers over the week-end added monumental confusion to what was already a dramatic situation for workers.
"L'Express Samedi", 24 May: Nazim Esoof, who seems more interested in impressing the readers with amazing pearls like "propagande logomachique", rather than trying to understand the simple arithmetic of salary compensation, makes the mistake of writing that the salary compensation of Rs. 283 (for those earning Rs. 3,500 per month) is for a whole year, whereas it is, in fact, per month. His arithmetic, however, does extend to being able to divide 283 by 12, and his title reads "Modiques Rs. 23", and in the text : "Soit pour les plus bas salaires une hausse de Rs 23 par mois".
On Saturday morning, Paul Berenger, the Leader of the Opposition, ex-trade unionist, ex-Minister of Finance, gives his usual press conference, and comments on the salary compensation. From then on the various Sunday papers, reporting the press conference, add more confusion to Nazim Esoof's howler.
5-Plus quotes Berenger as saying: "C'est vraiment une honte. Les salaries et les pensionnes au bas de l'echelle auront moins de Rs 25 additionnelles par mois."
The Week-End paper after having published on page 4 the official table for compensation ( 8.1 percent for those earning up to Rs 3,500, ie Rs 283 a month for a worker earning Rs 3,500) goes on to report Berenger's press conference: "une compensation de moins de Rs 25 par mois pour ceux au bas de l'echelle est une veritable honte."