Zimbabwe Congress Of Trade Unions through its leader Peter Mutasa has said the government should set minimum wages to deal with vulnerabilities, Business Times reports.
The matter came to light as Mutasa was commenting on the minimum wage his union is lobbying for. ZCTU is proposing that minimum wage be pegged at $USD 250 as he said the government was negotiating with unions in bad faith up to the point of barring his union from attending negotiation forums. Said Mutasa:
It’s clear that the ill-advised de-dollarisation project has failed dismally, resulting in employers putting salaries last (on their obligations list),” president of the country’s main labour body, the ZCTU, Peter Mutasa told a Business Times in collaboration with Econometer Global Capital virtual salaries meeting last week.
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We are in a vicious circle. We need a national minimum wage to deal with vulnerabilities. Currency is not forced on people.
The economic agency has rejected (the Zimbabwe dollar). Workers are being shortchanged because everything is now indexed on the US dollar except salaries. We can’t negotiate for Zimbabwe dollars. We cannot sustain it because of the environment we are in. We want salaries in a currency that is stable.
Zimbabwe cannot continue on this pathetic route. Our current situation is a failed State. We cannot allow businesses to transact in US dollars and prioritise other obligations in US dollars, leaving out salaries. We are proposing that we look at the 2018 agreement where workers were getting US$500 on average. Now, workers are earning less than US$40 (in real terms). We go for 50% of the 2018 average figure which amounts to US$250.
But business is not comfortable with that. And we are saying we can’t be stupid to negotiate for Zimbabwe dollars.
On not being able to negotiate on the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Mutasa said the government should allow them to present the workers under their union’s grievances to their government:
So, it’s not possible to dialogue at the moment because social partners are regarded as terrorists. How then do you dialogue? The Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) is expected to resume next month. Mutasa said workers should not expect anything from TNF as government has no culture of negotiation. How do you sit down with government terrorists?
It’s not possible.Our leaders (ZCTU) cannot visit government offices, so it’s not possible unless government declassify us, we will not be able to go for the TNF meeting.
Economists have however said companies might not be able to pay wages in USD as it was not sustainable because the economy took a huge knock from the COVID-19 pandemic.
More: Business Times