By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has condemned the government’s decision to pay civil servants bonuses in US dollars.
The labour body described the move as “temporary” before threatening to take protest action against the government if the authorities do not swiftly move and redress the salary crisis.
In an update Monday, the ZCTU said, although the government’s gesture to pay civil servants bonuses in US dollars was appreciated, the workers believe the measures represent “short-lived sweetness” void of addressing the real issue of low salaries.
The ZCTU statement is the first to be issued under the stewardship of the federation’s new president, Florence Taruvinga.
She was appointed president last month at a ZCTU congress held in Harare.
“The gesture to pay bonuses in US dollars is a direct admission that the current wages and salaries are worthless hence the need for a holistic approach to the challenge,” the statement reads.
“As a labour body we believe in the long term and permanent solutions and the only acceptable solution is for the government and all employers to pay salaries and other benefits in US dollars.”
The union also criticised the government’s ill-conceived policies resulting in the devaluation of salaries.
It added through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument (SI) 33 of 2019, salaries were converted from the US$ to the Zimbabwe dollar peg overnight thereby distorting wages.
The labour body urged the government that through using proper channels, it must address its mistakes and restore the value of previous salaries.
“It is our demand that if goods and services are indexed to the US dollar, the same must apply to wages and salaries because wages are a service. We call upon the government to address the issue of wages and salaries with the urgency it deserves.
“The ZCTU shall not hesitate to explore available alternatives to ensure that workers’ voices and demands are heard at the slightest indication of negotiating in bad faith by government and employers,” the workers’ group added.