Commercial Sector Employers Sabotaging NEC Talks

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By Alois Vinga

COMMERCIAL sector employers are allegedly choking the smooth flow of business at the respective National Employment Council (NEC) by turning up for the meetings without any position and, in the process, stalling salary increases for the industry’s workers.

Speaking to Business this week Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ) general secretary, Eshawedi Chamunogwa accused the sector’s employers of sabotaging salary increases negotiations.

“Our last Collective Bargaining Agreement expired on January 31, 2022, and despite the fact that salary negotiations for the sector should have commenced way before the expiry date, no progress has been made to that effect to date.

“Employers continue to play games as they are assigning pawns like Mike Chikanda to represent them despite the fact that he has only a total of three employees at his small business,” he said.

Chamunogwa said the employers’ representatives are not coming forth with any position and quizzed why the big players in the industry continue to ignore such a pertinent matter.

“We have companies like OK Zimbabwe, Spar Zimbabwe, N.Richards and TV Sales and Home to mention  just a few  in our sector but despite numerous efforts to push them to the negotiating table they continue to turn a blind eye on us,” he said.

The workers representative accused the employers of deliberately throwing spanners in the smooth operations of the NEC in a bid to avoid salary increases.

“What boggles the mind is that these companies have indexed the prices of goods they sell against the US$ parallel market rate but they want to continue paying workers the last agreed on figure of $25 000 in monthly salaries,” said Chamunogwa.

He said the finalization of labour disputes in the industry has stalled for a long time now due to the fact that no one is seriously manning the sector’s NEC.

Efforts to get a comment from one of the employers representatives, Mike Chikanda were fruitless after questions sent to him on whatsapp and phone calls were not responded to.