Timber negotiations stall

WAGE negotiations for the timber sector have stalled in the last four years due to the continued haggling of workers and employers over the latter’s insistence that the 2012 minimum wage be reduced from US$150 to US$105, businessdigest has learnt.

Staff Writer.

Employers in the timber sector have appealed to the Labour Court to reduce the minimum wage after their appeal to do so at arbitration failed. The case was heard at the Labour Court on March the 10th this year, according to sources.

“ Both workers and employers presented their submissions at the Labour Court with employers arguing that economic pressures they are facing makes it impossible for them to pay the amount of US$150,” the source revealed.

Employers in the timber sector include Allied Timbers, Border Timbers and the Wattle Company.

Sources also revealed that employers in the tea sector have asked for an extension of the exemption from paying a minimum wage of US$95, saying the sector is still vulnerable after drought compounded the situation.
Employers in the tea sector include Tanganda Tea Company and Southdown Holdings Ltd.

“Employers and workers have agreed to sit down to discuss the issue of exemptions,” an informed insider revealed.
The number of farm workers in Zimbabwe has declined from more than half a million in 2000 when land reform began, to less than 20 000 currently, according to the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe.