US dollar wage demands surge in Zimbabwe

DEMANDS for wages in United States dollars (US$) have increased across all sectors of the economy as a number of employees struggle to purchase commodities now priced in dollars.

Commodity manufacturers now price their goods in US dollars for items such as sugar, milk, cooking oil and Mazoe crushed orange juice, forcing retailers and wholesalers to follow suit.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Florence Tavuringa told NewsDay the union will continue to fight for US dollar wages.

“Since time immemorial, the ZCTU has been and continues to be at the forefront of the demand for US dollar salaries. We will continue to demand US dollar salaries because we continue to have policy makers , especially the Ministry of Finance, who gag around their so-called business minds or theories to the detriment of citizens,” Taruvinga said.

She said policy makers continue to enact policies that do not address real issues on the ground, adding that the union is consulting for action.

Zimbabwe Employers’ Confederation president Demos Mbauya said the ability to pay wages in foreign currency was largely determined by a company’s ability to sustainably generate foreign exchange.

“We have a dual currency system comprising US Dollar and Zimdollar. The ability to pay salaries in US Dollars is largely determined by the company’s ability to sustainably generate US Dollars, taking into account other competing demands in the business,” Mbauya said. said.

“This debate about which currency to pay wages and salaries in needs to be contextualized. In a stable economic environment, with a stable currency, this debate would not take place. So we need to properly locate the source of the problem and deal with it. at this level.”

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe tweeted: “Prices have risen and retailers are demanding forex (US$), while the worker’s wage remains constant and valued against the devalued RTGS. We want our 540 (US$ )”.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe also tweeted that it was time to pay salaries in US dollars as there is no point in negotiating remuneration in a currency whose burial order was typed on the streets of Harare.

In a joint statement released last week, public sector unions said: “The government has ignored the workers’ call to improve the US dollar component and for workers to abandon the bargaining process, which does not respect the constitutional rights of collective rights. bargaining as enshrined in the National Constitution Sec 65(1).”