By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWEAN farm workers will now earn just ZWL$1 100 per month, according to recently approved salary increments for the general agricultural sector.
The amount is equivalent to US$16.17 using the official exchange rate.
The new wage is for the highest paid worker.
Reads Statutory Instrument 168 of 2020, “It is hereby notified that the Labour Minister has, in terms of section 80(1) of the Labour Act, approved the publication of the Collective Bargaining Agreement set out in the Schedule…”
The latest schedule confirms that the least paid workers under grade A1 will now be taking home ZWL$550 while the highest paid worker under grade C2 will now be taking home ZWL$1 100.
This follows a recent 52.78 % increase across the board.
Second least paid workers under grade A2 will be taking home ZWL$590 while those in middle paid grades between B1 and B5 will be taking home between ZWL$694 and ZWL$943 per month.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Employers Organisation (ZAEO), Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) represented employers.
On the other side, the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) and Horticulture, General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (HGAPWUZ) represented workers’ interests during the negotiations.
The new salary scales further condemn the farm workers to poverty as they fall way below the least recommended thresholds for workers to survive penury.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) recently reported that a family of five now requires $ 8 484 to manage all its monthly expenses.
Currently, inflation has gone beyond 700 % resulting in massive erosion of the Zimbabwe dollar which remains the currency used to pay salaries locally.
Several businesses are now selling their goods and services in foreign currency or at prices rated against US dollar parallel market exchange rates, adding more pressure on poorly remunerated citizens.