‘Social dialogue on wages vital’

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s recommendations for a blanket wage freeze cannot be implemented without tripartite negotiations as well as seriously addressing economic fundamentals through policies that encourage economic growth, analysts have said.

Kudzai Kuwaza

In his monetary policy statement on Wednesday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya called for a freeze in wages and the reduction of prices of goods and services.

“Given the lack of competiveness and its negative effects on the economy, we do not see any room for wage and salary increases within the national economy” Mangudya said.

“Instead, the prevailing circumstances call for a downward adjustment in the prices of goods and services in order to promote competitiveness and ultimately for the recovery of the economy. Further wage and salary increases would only serve to choke the economy.”

His calls came at a time workers are struggling to make ends meet with more the 6 000 employees being retrenched last year and wide scale closure of companies.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said workers should not be punished for government’s failure to implement policies that promote economic growth and development.

“You cannot blame the worker. That is barking up the wrong tree ” Kanyenze said “ The issues must be about addressing Doing Business Reforms as well as other issues such as infrastructure development. There is no political courage and no political will to tackle the real issues”

He said there was need to address broader economic problems affecting the country through a social dialogue and not through pronouncements. Arbitrator and labour lawyer Johnlife Mawire said pronouncements on wage freezes can only come after consultations by the tripartite partners government, business and labour.

“Such definitive policy positions in labour matters can only be made after tripartite consultations as provided by the International Labour Organisation Convention.” he said