By Alois Vinga
THE Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) has rejected demands for US dollar wages by workers insisting such “a one size fits all” approach was not applicable in the local context.
This comes after the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has declared a deadlock at the Tripartite Negotiation Forum over the matter and has proceeded to mobilise workers to stage lunch hour demonstrations to press for US dollar-based wages.
But speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Business Thursday, EMCOZ president, Israel Murefu urged workers to unbundle the demand and consider varied companies’ earning capacities.
He said there were two types of employers in terms of revenue generation with some who are predominantly exporting and had a higher foreign currency generating capacity in the form of US dollars.
Murefu said within the matrix were domestic companies which traded in the local environment and were generating their revenue entirely in Zimbabwe dollars and had insignificant inflows of US dollars.
“So, their US dollar trades are not as high or as significant as the trades in Zimbabwean dollars. Therefore, it is up to each employer depending on their capacity to decide to pay a proportion of salaries in US dollars if they have got the foreign currency,” he said.
Asked on whether there has been a deadlock at the TNF over the US dollar salary payment issue, Murefu dismissed the allegations.
“I am not aware that there is a deadlock, but I am aware that there is difference of opinion in terms of what each social partner prefers.
“The trade unions prefer that their salaries be paid in US dollars while employers prefer that the matter be left to business and employers to decide the currency in which employees should be paid,” he said.
The EMCOZ boss said if every sector had set salary minimums in either the US or Zimbabwe dollar and if employers choose to pay the equivalent of such an amount in local currency, there would be no problem.
“The Zimbabwean dollar has begun to strengthen and stabilise as you compare it with the United States dollar.
“So going forward, employers should not be forced to pay just in one currency because if one is not trading in US dollars, there is no way you can go to the market and purchase foreign currency for purposes of paying a local obligation because there is no market for those US dollars,” Murefu added.