BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMBABWE’S mining industry workers have been awarded a 24,5% wage hike following collective bargaining negotiations, which will see the lowest paid employee in the sector earning ZW$30 500 (about US$348) per month.
The new salary structure is effective from July 1 to December 31, 2021 but is subject to review on a quarterly basis, based on the prevailing economic situation in the mining industry.
Before the adjustment, the lowest paid employee in the mining sector was earning $24 500 (about US$280) a month, while the highest was taking home $56 823 (about US$650).
With the current adjustment, the highest paid employee will now be getting ZW$70 740 (about US$813).
According to a circular sent to mines, the new salary structure was agreed upon in dual currency (US dollars and ZW dollars) by the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe on September 28, 2021.
“The agreement carries an exemption clause as stipulated in the principal agreement, Statutory Instrument 152 of 1990, clause 6 (exemptions, variations and savings). Non-foreign currency generating companies, upon being granted an exemption, may be allowed to pay the full US dollar amount in ZW dollars equivalent using the official bank rate.
Those employers who are able to pay more than the National Employment Council (NEC) minimums are encouraged to do so. All increases shall be based on dollar value principle,” the circular reads in part.
The circular said the portion payable in US dollars shall be converted to Zimbabwean dollars at the prevailing interbank exchange rate at the time of payment and deducted from the respective minimum wage to determine the balance to be paid in Zimbabwean dollars.
“For clarity, the total earnings for each grade will be equal to the respective minimum for that grade. Non-foreign currency generating companies are excluded from the requirement to pay in US dollars,” it said.
For the US dollar portion, the least paid worker is entitled to US$193 while the highest gets US$448.
The salary adjustment comes after the cost of living for a family of six increased by 4,8% to ZW$40 000 (about US$459) in September, according to the country’s statistics agency, Zimstat.
The Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe has been pushing for a 270% salary increase that would see the lowest paid worker pocketing at least ZW$65 000 (about US$740) per month.
Mining is the country’s largest source of export revenue and together with agriculture the sector is expected to anchor economic growth this year.