Labour union demands meeting with Mnangagwa over US$150 minimum wage

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By Alois Vinga

THE country’s main labour federations have demanded an urgent meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to get the minimum wage of US$150 gazetted as soon as possible.

Last year the government revealed that after consultations with relevant stakeholders, an agreement for  a guide to all bargaining platforms across all sectors to strive towards pegging the minimum wage at US$150 (also) payable in Zimbabwe dollars at the prevailing bank rate was made.

The proposed guidelines for the minimum wage were subjected to review at the main Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) meeting in the first quarter of 2023.

But in a letter jointly signed by the country’s leading labour federation, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) acting secretary general, Kudakwashe Munengiwa alongside the Zimbabwe Federations of Trade Unions (ZFTU) secretary general, Kenias Shamuyarira addressed to the Labour Minister, Paul Mavima raised concerns over the delays in gazetting the minimum wage.

“On behalf of organized labour, we bring to your attention outstanding issues that have not been resolved after our last TNF meeting where we agreed that every worker must be paid at least US$150 per month.

“We are particularly unhappy that you have literary refused to gazette the agreed amount as a minimum wage and instead prefer to call it a guideline despite the fact that we agreed at TNF that it is in fact a minimum wage,” the labour unions said.

The unions said as a result, enforcing the minimum wage has been thrown into jeopardy because it remains ungazetted.

Furthermore, the joint letter said TNF partners agreed to meet in the first quarter of 2023 to review this amount in line with the prevailing economic situation but this has not happened since government has not yet called for any meeting.

“Comrade Minister, workers out there are highly agitated and they might be forced to take the law into their own hands as the cost of living continues to spiral.

“We demand that you convene an urgent TNF meeting and arrange another meeting of organized labour with President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” the unions demanded.