Tobacco workers win salary dispute

Eric Chiriga

THE Zimbabwe Tobacco Industrial Workers Union (ZTIWU) has won asalary dispute against Tobacco Miscellaneous Employers Association (TMEA) and the workers have been awarded a 100% salary increment

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“Having regard to all the factors and the disparities between the positions of the different members of TMEA, we consider that an award of 100% would be fair and reasonable,” a statement by the arbitrators said.


ZTIWU appointed Johnliffe Mawire as their arbitrator.

They said the award would be back-dated to April 1 this year and the salaries will also be reviewed later this month for a further increase for the second quarter.


The second quarter begins next month.

The arbitrators said that in considering the position of the workers, the disparity between the positions of the various members of TMEA complicated the issue.


In its presentation TMEA had submitted that the effective date for the nine months prior to April 1 was 838% whereas the official annual inflation rate for the 12-month period was 622% which was effectively 216% below the increase given.


The 66% increase offered by TMEA would take the minimum wage for grade one employees, which is the lowest grade, to the level of $420 000.


TMEA said some of its pay in excess of the minimum wages, as well as paying a 13th cheque and production bonuses and other extras.


On the other hand, ZTIWU in its presentation said that April 1 is the beginning of the first quarter and that is when wage increments should be made so that the minimum wage is in line with the poverty datum line of the Central Statistical office.


ZTIWU said that the employers had indicated that they can afford to pay such wages but were not prepared to do so.


“Work in tobacco miscellaneous sector is seasonal and 90% of the work force is seasonally employed and work for a minimum of four months a year their wages in the tobacco miscellaneous sector cannot be compared with the wages in the other sectors where the workers work all year round,” ZTIWU said.


When the two parties began to negotiate on the wage increase at the first meeting that was held on August 1, ZTIWU suggested that the minimum wage for grade one employees should be $1 367 437, but TMEA declined and proposed a 50% increase.


TMEA said the amount suggested by ZTMEA was not sustainable.

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