THERE has been no agreement on wage increases in 2016 in any of the more than 50 national employment councils (NECs), with most employers advocating a reduction in salaries as viability challenges take a toll, a union official has said.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo told businessdigest on Tuesday that none of the NECs had reached an agreement on a wage increment for 2016.
“All the sectors have not agreed on a wage increment,” Moyo said. “Instead, we have endless marathon meetings between employers and employees in sectors such as banking and engineering with no agreement to increase wages while others have awarded no wage increment. Some employers are actually calling for a reduction in salaries.”
This development comes at a time when the economic decline in the country has been characterised by severe liquidity constraints as evidenced by the cash shortage in the market and low capacity utilisation of below 35% among other factors.
The business community on Monday recommended to Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee that all salaries, including that of President Robert Mugabe, must be slashed. This was part of their contribution to the 2017 budget which Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is expected to present next month.
“We are very expensive as a country, with an expensive labour, government, parliament and private sector. We need to adjust by having to cut down our salary bill, from the President down to everyone on the streets by not less than 50% in order to stimulate economic growth,” Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe vice-president Callisto Jokonya told the parliamentary committee.
According to statistics from ZCTU, at least 236 companies have closed shop between January and August this year, with the food and clothing sectors being amongst the most affected.