By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has reiterated its demands for a 50 percent pay hike for Zimbabwean workers in the wake of the continued increase in prices of goods and services in the country.
In a statement, ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said the price surge threatened to erode wages which remain unchanged in spite of the economic crisis.
“The ZCTU has noted with great concern the shocking massive price hikes which are affecting almost every basic commodity thereby worsening the plight of the already struggling masses of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Prices of most products have gone up by over 50 percent and the prices continue to rise at break-neck speed and this has seriously eroded the incomes of the ordinary who are now finding it hard to survive on their meagre wages.
“Labour notes that most workers earn an average of $300 a month and therefore cannot afford to buy goods in most shops.”
Moyo said unscrupulous retailers continued to use the three tier pricing system to swindle customers out of their hard-earned monies with authorities seemingly at a loss on how they could remedy the crisis.
The system sees retailers and service providers charging more if one was buying via electronic money transfer while goods purchased in bond notes and US dollars are obtainable at much cheaper rates.
The ZCTU chief said the current three tier pricing system was bleeding most employees who earn their wages via bank transfers or other electronic methods.
“…indeed if this is what is called ‘open for business’, then Zimbabweans are in for a torrid time,” he said while referring to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s popular mantra.
“We urge the government to move in and protect the consumers before they (prices) spiral out of hand.
“The ZCTU reiterates its earlier demand for a 50 percent upward review of wages and salaries across the board to compensate for the increases in basic commodities.”
However, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) executive director, John Mufukare said that salary increments will not solve what he said was a problem that was much broader than often perceived.
“If I have to increase salaries as an employer and succumb to the 50 percent increment across the board demand and meet the employee’s needs in the short term, what will happened again if prices keep increasing?” he said.