Govt and Business Not Serious About Worker’s Welfare: Labour Unions

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HARARE – Members of the organised labour have called out government and businesses for their failure to address the worker’s concerns and lack of seriousness at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) where all the three key stakeholders meet to discuss labour issues.

This follows the ongoing stalemate particularly over the suggestion by workers that employers should adjust salaries in relation to the inflation rates in the country.

“We members of the organised labour made up of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions(ZFTU) and Apex Council would like to express our displeasure with the proceedings of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum and in particular, the lack of seriousness by both government and business when it comes to the issue of addressing eroded wages and salaries crisis, hence our decision not to participate in the TNF of 17 December 2020.

“We note that the working people of Zimbabwe have suffered immensely as wages and salaries have failed to keep pace with the inflationary trends. The situation has worsened rendering it practically impossible for workers across all the sectors to earn the current salaries and sustain their families or be able to go to work. In spite of this, the TNF has failed to address this matter and it is out a collective position that the TNF mus find a permanent solution on the issue of eroded wages and salaries,” said the members of the organised labour in a joint statement.

Joint statement from members of the organised labour

As a result, the members of the organised labour did not show up for the TNF meeting which was scheduled for December 17, 2020, after the other parties decided not to include the salary adjustment issue on the agenda.

“What is more disturbing is that during the meeting of October 21, 2020, we insisted that the issue of wages be on the agenda, but to our surprise, it was not on the agenda of the 17 December 2020 meeting, a clear sign that the government is not treating the issue with the urgency that it deserves.

“We also note that although business is against indexing wages and salaries to the US dollar and exchange rate, business is itself profiteering by indexing goods and services to the exchange rate. The government and business are not serious about and we will only consider going back to the TNF once the issue of wages and salaries are on the agenda,” they added.

Most employees across the various sectors have been calling for a review of salaries so that they can reflect the economic realities of the country.

Teachers went for months without reporting for duty after declaring themselves incapacitated and demanded that their salaries be restored to an equivalent of US$500.

However, the government refused to bow down to this demand and only adjusted their salaries to ZWL$18 000 which is just over US$200 if one is to use the official rate from the auction system.

Government further threatened teachers into going back to school after it directed that all those not reporting for work will not receive their salaries and that they were going to be replaced by unemployed teachers who were on the waiting list to be recruited.

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