Spare a thought for workers!

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IT’S sad that recent negotiations between the government, labour and business, under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, ended in disagreement over remuneration of workers.

While the government and labour sided on the need to improve wages and salaries taking into consideration how they have been eroded by hyper-inflation, business was adamant that the economy is in a bad shape to accommodate high remuneration for workers. Business reasoned that market forces should determine wages and salaries.

Workers have been the hardest hit by the tanking economy since President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed office in November 2017. Both the government and business are to blame for the plight of employees.

The Zimbabwean worker has remained stuck in abject poverty, barely surviving almost 40 years
after Independence. Most families have had to make do on less than $30 per day.

Businesses are capitalising on the high unemployment rate of more than 90 percent and threaten workers whenever issue of pay increment is raised.

Two years since Mnangagwa took over the presidency, the workers’ story is yet to transform from despair to hope.

Food readily available in shops, but not everybody can afford to purchase it. Various attempts at downing tools by civil servants have failed to force the government to negotiate reasonable remuneration. The government being the largest employer, with more than 500 000 workers on its payroll, should show its sincerity by taking care of its biggest asset, the workers.

Sadly while employees continue to languish in poverty, ministers and senior government officials have been busy parcelling themselves out huge perks. Government statistics show that its workers earn an average of $1 200 monthly against the poverty datum line estimated at over $5 000. Many have now resorted to unorthodox survival tactics and commodity broking to improve their livelihoods.

With companies closing on the back of depressed capacity utilisation, the majority of economically active citizens are now turning to the informal sector with independent statistics showing that at least 80 percent of the economy is informalised. There is need to spare a thought for the Zimbabwean worker. Employees are the company’s greatest assets. What they say about your company, how they act in the workplace, and how happy they are in their roles all impact on the company’s brand, image, and customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately the Zimbabwean worker remains poor, silenced, and downtrodden with no one to cry to.

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