Many National Employment Councils locked in salary negotiations

MORE than 40 National Employment Councils are still locked in wage negotiations for 2014 with some heading for arbitration after a complete breakdown in talks, an official said.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Workers have been advocating a minimum wage linked to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) which currently stands at US$540, a stance vigorously resisted by employers, who feel it is not feasible due to low productivity. Negotiations have dragged on with employer and employees still poles apart in some sectors such as mining.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) director John Mufukare told businessdigest that five NECs still had valid agreements with four of them expiring on March 31, while the other one is set to expire in June.

He expressed concern over some of the deadlocks in wage negotiations, saying this could spark another wave of company closures.

“In our opinion it is completely irrational to talk about PDL linked wages when all around you companies are closing down,” Mufukare said. “If a man insists on cutting his own throat why should you stop him?”

He said there were some who had agreed on wages for the year with some coming up with a formula where if there was an increase by a certain percentage in productivity it would be reflected in the paycheck as a bonus. This, he said, would be reviewed on a month-on-month basis.

Mufukare, however, could not reveal the sectors which had reached agreements as they are yet to be ratified by the Ministry of Labour.

Emcoz yesterday held a crisis meeting with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at summit level to try and find ways of curbing the closure of companies that has resulted in numerous job losses. Other issues to be discussed include the liquidity crisis as well as power shortages that have crippled industry.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) revealed that a record 9 617 job losses and 75 company closures were recorded last year.