SALARIES in local currency are being eroded on a daily basis by the downward spiralling economic situation worsened by runaway inflation, the Zimbabwe Independent has observed.
The fluctuating exchange rate has also had a negative impact on salaries of employees, who buy foreign currency on the parallel market to meet their daily needs.
A comparison of what employees used to earn in January 2022 versus the April/May figures shows that wages have been eroded by 200%. Prices of basic commodities like groceries, petrol, rentals and electricity tariffs have also been on an upward trajectory putting more pressure on the already meagre salaries. In January, the official rate was US$1:ZW$108,66, while the parallel market rate was US$1:ZW$180. End of April, the official rate was pegged at US$1:ZW$159,34 and parallel market rate was around US$1:ZW$400. A teacher was getting around ZW$16 000 plus US$100 in January and now they gets around ZW$36 000 and US$175 per month. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo said although teachers were given an increment, the salary continues to lag behind the ever-increasing prices of basics.
“The majority of sectors negotiate (wages) quarterly but still remain behind when compared to the rise in commodities (prices),” Moyo said.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the only way to protect salaries is to pay workers in United States dollars.
“The economy has dollarised and the move to willing-buyer willing-seller will lead to the official depreciation of the local currency,” Masaraure said.
The cost of living has shot up astronomically over the months with the prices of basic commodities rising by 50-80% every month and this, however, does not tally with the salaries. Transport woes on the other hand continue as the commuting public spend hours in queues waiting for public transport.
Zupco costs ZW$100 a trip to most suburbs, hence on an average one needs ZW$5 000 per month for transport, however due to the recurring strikes by Zupco drivers over poor salaries, there has been a serious transport shortage.
Shortage of transport opened space for illegal operators, who have been charging about US$2 per trip, which is out of the reach of the majority.