By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Most workers in the retail and wholesale sector are reportedly earning ‘slave wages’, a new union has revealed.
According to a press release by Progressive Retail and Wholesale Workers Union of Zimbabwe (PRWWUZ) interim general secretary Phillip Mafundu, the union got surprised with the recent approved wages by the National Employment Council for the Commercial Sectors (NECCS).
“We are shocked by the paltry slave wages that have approved and announced by the National Employment Council for the commercial sectors of Zimbabwe. (NECCS)
” The salaries (minimum) were raised from US$ 225 payable at bank rate to US$265 payable at the bank rate what boggles the mind the most is the fact that there is no portion that is to be paid in USD and no allowances.
” The whole amount is said to be paid at the prevailing inter bank rate. All other sectors which are related to the commercial sector are now well above US$265usd and have a specific amount that should be paid in US$,”states the PRWWUZ boss.
The union says the wages are impoverishing the workers since they don’t include allowances.
” All other sectors which are related to the commercial sector are now well above US$265 and have a specific amount that should be paid in US$.
” This has reduced the shop workers to mere slaves US$265 is way below poverty datum line
which stands above U$500 and way below minimum wages which are being received by other workers in related sectors like catering ,
food and allied, bakery, medical just to mention a few.
“Also the US$265 is said to be inclusive of allowances and one wonder how the workers are going to survive on such a paltry wage which is not even enough for rentals and transport to and
from work alone,” adds the union.
The Philip Mafundu-led PRWWUZ had no kind words with NECCS for failing to serve the interests of workers at the expense of self-aggrandizement.
” The NEC commercial should be dismantled since it’s no longer serving its purpose and has caused suffering of a lot of employees in the sector who are now the bulk of the employees in Zimbabwe since the economy is now much based on buying and selling.
“The organisation is now being led by inept and greedy councillors who do not have workers interests at heart,”accuses the union.
It further says ‘there are a lot of issues besides salaries that the NECCS has dismally failed to execute which are core to its existence for example dispute resolution, collective bargaining on conditions of service that include safety of employees and insurances like medical aid, pension, and funeral and lastly allowances like accommodation and transport’.
The newly formed union is proposing that employers in the sector should pay a minimum of US$450 payable as US$250 cash and US$200 equivalent at interbank rate.