By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has slammed employers for allegedly dragging their feet on increasing the current $2 500 national minimum wage and instead, opting to increase allowances which cannot be used when calculating pension benefits.
The amount is far below the Total Consumption Poverty Line which currently hovers around $25 000 per month for an average family of five.
The national minimum wage, which was last increased last year by the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF), stands at an equivalent of US$25, according to the prevailing parallel market exchange rates.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com on the sidelines of the Baking and Allied Workers Union (BAWU) 6th National Congress this week, ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo said the current payment practices will disadvantage workers in the long term.
“We still have the national minimum wage set at a paltry $2 500 per month and the worst reality is that we still have some employers paying their workers such an amount.
“Some employers are then choosing to declare a deadlock with their respective National Employment Councils (NECs).
“Thereafter, they proceed to offer employees Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) which can be four times more than the minimum wage.
“However, the danger is that on retirement, COLA payments will not be factored and this will result in employees receiving peanuts,” he said.
Moyo slammed incompetent NECs for not effectively dealing with the challenge and argued in favour of the need for the TNF to expeditiously effect the national minimum wage saying such a move would be the only way to save the workers.
“This is why we are pushing for the TNF to decide on the matter as this would cushion thousands of workers whose NECs are a bit slow in negotiating. Otherwise the working class will be impoverished by such trends,” he added.
However, the proposal to set the national minimum wage at the TNF was shot down by the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe representatives at TNF who argued that the responsibility must be left for NECs.