By Leopold Munhende
MAIN labour group, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Tuesday vowed it will not abandon its demands for US dollar wages on workers’ behalf even after a government ban on the multi-currency regime on Monday.
Addressing the media in Harare ahead of a Tripartite Negotiating Forum this Wednesday, ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said the scrapping of other currencies from the national basket of legal tender will not stop them from demanding US dollar wages.
“The ZCTU has not moved from its position that the short term solution is to dollarise and as such we are going into TNF to demand US dollar salary payments for all employees,” Mutasa said.
TNF is a negotiating platform that brings together government, business and labour.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Monday announced, through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019, the abandonment of the multi-currency regime that has kept the country going since Zimbabwe dumped its valueless currency back in 2009.
Ncube later told the media the move was also aimed at protecting civil servants who were at the mercy of businesses that were demanding foreign currency payments for both goods and services.
However, the move has riled workers, the opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans who feel the Zanu PF led administration was running the country through disastrous ambush policies.
Said Mutasa, “We are also attending the TNF to express our displeasure about the unilateral policy pronouncement and the substance of the policy itself.
“If the government does not reverse this ruinous policy immediately and announce US dollar salary payments, we will immediately mobilise workers for mass action.
Mutasa said government was paying workers “meaningless RTGS dollars which can no longer effectively function as a medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value and standard for deferred payment”.
He added, “We would like to note that government has been taking its people for granted for quite some time now, lying when it introduced the bond notes in 2016 that they were adequately backed by lines of credit from AfreximBank, that the 1:1 exchange rate between the USD and RTGS$ were also backed by adequate lines of credit when they separated Nostro and RTGS Foreign Accounts (FCAs) in October 2018.”