ZCTU threatens protests over RBZ wage freeze proposal


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Zimbabwe’s biggest labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), today warned that it will soon wage protests against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) recommendation for a wage freeze.

Central bank governor John Mangudya used his monetary policy statement last week to push for the freeze, saying pay increases would further strain the economy and stifle its recovery.

But workers, citing low salaries and high prices for goods and services, feel that it is within their right to push for wage increases.

The ZCTU described the central bank’s statement, which has been supported by government, as a reckless attack on the rights of employees.

“They made reckless statements without looking at the situation holistically and due to that employers have found a loophole and a finger to hide behind and are therefore not paying salaries and are averse to coming to the negotiating table to discuss conditions of service for employees,” the labour body said.

“The leadership of the ZCTU, having noted the bad and unethical stance set by the mentioned authorities, would like to inform all affiliates that they should ready themselves for demonstrations concerning these utterances by authorities mentioned above.”

The labour body said it would soon announce the dates for the demonstrations.

Labour accuses management and executives in most firms in the economy of paying themselves hefty salaries and living lavish lifestyles at the expense of the workers.

he Consumer Council of Zimbabwe places the country’s poverty datum line at around $500 a month, a figure above what most ordinary employees earn.

A FinScope consumer survey for 2014, conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) and Research Continental-Fonkom, found that 76 percent of adult Zimbabweans earn less than $200 month.

However, the central bank has made a case for a stand-still position on wages as it pushes for a general price reduction in the economy to boost consumer spending power.

“Given the lack of competitiveness and its negative effects on the economy, we do not see any room for wage and salary increase within the national economy,” RBZ chief Mangudya said in his policy statement last week.

The central bank argued that the country’s minimum wage remained higher than most countries in the region and this contributed to lack of competitiveness of goods and services.

“We need to move away from the psychology or concept of money illusion, which states that people think in terms of the amount of money they have, rather than in terms of its value. We now need to think in terms of value,” Mangudya said.- The Source

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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