Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has urged government to pay workers’ salaries in US$ unlike the current situation whereby workers are paid only allowances in foreign currency while salaries are paid in local currency.
In a speech read on behalf of ZCTU President Florence Taruvinga by second Deputy Secretary General Kudakwashe Munengiwa during Workers’ Day commemorations held in Masvingo at Mucheke Hall on May 1, 2023, the union said the general welfare of workers and citizens has now become pathetic due to the inflation-hit local currency.
“We are aware of the deceitfulness of government and employers in their piecemeal approach of paying allowances in US$ while suppressing salaries in ZW$. That practice is killing us softly,” said Taruvinga.
The union also urged government to honor its October 2022 pledge where the social partners agreed on a minimum wage in US$.
“Labour is currently at war with government over the minimum wage. Social partners agreed on a US$ 150 minimum wage which was supposed to be gazetted with effect from October 2022. That has not been effected and government is adamantly claiming that the US$ 150 was just a recommendation,” added Taruvinga.
As the economic situation worsens, workers have been plunged into deep suffering as the meagre salaries cannot meet the basics required by the citizen and worker.
“Our demand for US$ salaries still stands and is becoming more relevant by the day. The US$ is the only currency that can restore wage value and enhance social security,” said Taruvinga.
As the union celebrated the day under the theme ‘workers demand an inclusive Zimbabwe free from poverty, corruption and oppression’, it also lamented the high unemployment rate faced in the country.
“According to Zimstat, we have 2.8 million unemployed people of working age but its common knowledge that the figure is much higher. There is no way we can address poverty with such a huge number of unemployed and under-employed people in this country. Our government has failed to implement the available frameworks on decent work and formalization of the informal economy,” she said.
The event was attended by various organizations from Masvingo and representatives from across the political divide.