THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has bemoaned wage suppression being employed by the country’s business elites arguing that they fall far short of the US$600 Poverty Datum Line (PDL) mark.
The remarks come at a time when several employers are refusing to peg workers’ salaries in foreign currency, with many choosing to pay allowance tokens in US$ while real salaries remain in ZWL.
Such a trend has deeply impoverished the working class especially because they will not be paid in foreign currency when they retire from work.
Data from a number of National Employment Councils across the country’s economic sectors shows that workers are currently earning salaries below the US$200 mark.
In contrast, businesses continue to reap huge profits in US$ and are currently clamoring for the authorities to urgently extend the policy directive on the usage of the ZWL beyond 2025.
Speaking to workers on the occasion to mark the World Day for Decent Work this week, ZCTU president Florence Taruvinga decried the huge mismatch between the PDL and workers’ earnings.
“The starting point for Zimbabwe has been the demand for Poverty Datum Line linked minimum wage. This is a struggle that we have been involved in for a number of years and the struggle is far from over.
“We have and we will continue to demand a legislated minimum wage to cushion the lowest paid worker. The Poverty Datum Line is fast approaching the US$600 mark but wages have remained stagnant,” she said.
The ZCTU president said as wages remain stagnant, prices for energy, food and other essentials are spiraling to levels that are sending millions of working people into poverty.
She said this is happening at a time when some economic experts continue to feed the government with poisonous advice that increasing salaries will lead to rising inflation.
“We are therefore calling employers to stop wage suppression. We are joining the world in calling for wage justice in Zimbabwe. Wage justice is a cornerstone of the social contract between workers, governments and employers that has been broken in the interests of corporate greed,” said Taruvinga.
She added that locals must affiliate with unions around the world who are also fighting against wage inequality, sub-minimum wages, and exploitative pay rates for migrants, younger workers, and other groups subject to discrimination.