HARARE,– The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the largest labour body in the country on Wednesday hit out at Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) boss Gershom Pasi for calling for a wage cut, and alleged a conspiracy among top government officials to trample on workers’ rights.
Pasi this week called for a wage cut for government employees arguing that the state had erred when it made the initial salary adjustments at the adoption of multi-currencies in 2009, figures which he said were “artificially high” to be sustained by the struggling economy.
The Zimra boss also called for resuscitation of “social dialogue” to find a way forward for the struggling economy.
Pasi’s comments followed a similar call by central bank governor John Mangudya’s call to freeze salaries arguing that the economy could not sustain any increases.
ZCTU has threatened to call for demonstrations after the salary freeze remarks, saying current wages, at between $150 and $450, were already too low and below the poverty datum line estimated at over $500.
“While we agree that the economic situation in the country is abnormal with 92 percent of the government revenue being channelled towards recurrent expenditure, we do not think cutting the salaries would remedy the situation,” the ZCTU said.
Instead of calling for all round cuts, the labour body said government must get rid of ghost workers on its payroll and cut the high perks for parastatal bosses.
“It is also public knowledge that heads of parastatals have massive benefits that are bleeding the state of millions of dollars annually,” the ZCTU said, while challenging Pasi and Mangudya to publicly disclose their salaries.
“They should concentrate on their core business rather than venturing into the labour market where they do not belong.”
The labour body appealed to government to devise strategies to revive the economy and lure investors.
“As labour, we feel that the state is using the wrong platform to advance its interests. Salaries are a result of collective bargaining processes and cannot be tempered with,” the ZCTU said.
“The workers of Zimbabwe are prepared to defend this infidel mentality with their lives if the government presses ahead with such unholy plans.” – The Source