By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU) has decried the US$10 monthly salary and prolonged lack of pension plan by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
Speaking during an exclusive interview on NewZim TV recently, ZIDAWU secretary general, Hilarious Ruyi described the “slave like” situation under which domestic workers are operating as inhumane.
“Government stipulated minimum wage for domestic workers is $900 which is almost the equivalent of US$10. Grade differentials from that minimum salary are not much and can just differ by $10 per grade. Against this background, surely one wonders how a gainfully employed worker can survive from such a paltry slave wage after a month’s work,” he said.
Ruyi said the workers group has since engaged government over the matter but similar grievances with civil servants had stalled progress on negotiations.
He however vowed to continue fighting for better salaries.
“Our position is that we must return to the minimum wage of US$85 which was paid to our members around 2011 before dedolarisation. Currently, the domestic workers’ predicament is worse than the 2011 position,” said Ruyi.
Quizzed on the capabilities of local employers to afford such a huge pay cheque considering that most professionals are earning an equivalent of US$140, Ruyi maintained that domestic work must be treated with the respect it deserves.
“In other countries, it is very expensive to employ domestic workers and they are paid handsomely. Why is it difficult to equally recognise this job in Zimbabwe and pay decent wages as well” he said.
The ZIDAWU secretary blamed employers for continuously blocking wage increments.
He also blamed social perceptions around the jobs as stumbling blocks against meaningful salary increases.
Ruyi also castigated the National Social Security Authority’s (NSSA) for failing to come up with a pension contribution scheme tailor-made to cater for domestic workers.
“They do not have medical aid; maternity leave benefits are not paid for. To make matters worse, NSSA doesn’t have a scheme which covers the domestic workers. When we approached the authority over the matter, they requested for time to first establish how other countries are handling similar issues and they have unfortunately not returned with feedback,” he said.
Ruyi added that in neighbouring South Africa, domestic workers enjoyed social protection benefits.
He questioned why it was taking too long for Zimbabwe to cushion domestic workers.