Annual collective bargaining begins


Godfrey Marawanyika

THE annual collective bargaining coordinated by affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for salary adjustments began this week with very little pro

gress.


It is reliably understood that less than half of the National Employment Council (NEC) have reached agreements with their employers so far.

To date, out of the 45 NECs only 13 have concluded agreements with their employers.


Some NECs negotiated their salary increments in January this year, but others only began deliberations this week.


The NECs that have so far reached an agreement have settled for percentage increments of about 109%.


ZCTU acting secretary general Collen Gwiyo said although some NECs had agreed on the salary adjustments others were still deliberating on the issue.

“A number of NECs are still negotiating but of the 13 that have reached agreements, some of them reached a settlement in January,” Gwiyo said.


“Some are still negotiating but what is important to note is that some NECs are not negotiating on long-term views because of the inflationary environment, lest whatever they would have agreed on is eroded by inflation.”


The country’s inflation currently stands at 505% making it among the highest in the world, and this effectively erodes the worker’s purchasing power.


Last month labour said that anything which is below the $864 000 poverty datum line, was unacceptable.


So far one of the major beneficiaries of the collective bargaining process are workers at the central bank who have been given a 300% salary increment.


The central bank’s increment is way above the average 109% to 150% being offered by other institutions.


The increments are however in direct contravention of public statements by the central bank governor Gideon Gono who says huge hikes would contribute to inflationary pressures.


Gwiyo said any agreed salary increments would be with effect from July.

“Right now it is still difficult to say when the NECs will finish their negotiations but we hope that by the end of this month agreements will have been reached so that the increments will be with effect from July 1.”


The Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare Paul Mangwana said the principle of this year’s collective bargain process still remains the same as last year.


He said government had however fixed the salaries of domestic workers at $83 000.


“Most of our NECs collective bargaining agreements are below the poverty datum line, and the average wage percent increases are far below the inflation rate,” Mangwana said.


He however castigated the managerial and their executive members who tend to demand and award themselves more than the general workers.


“In this kind of environment and poverty besieging the country there are some executives who take home between $28 million to $30 million a month in a situation where some employees are getting a minimum of $200 000,” he said.