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Living minimum wage issue should be taken seriously

15 Feb 2020 at 11:19hrs | Views
IT is quite unfortunate that the salary talks in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum have stalled simply because the parties failed to agree on a minimum wage. The issue of a living minimum wage should be taken seriously by employers and government because it is critical not only to the survival of businesses, but the very economy itself.

The demand by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a minimum wage of $3 800 across the board is reasonable in light of what is obtaining in the economy, rather than the paltry $1 200.

There is no way the economy is going to grow as long as workers do not have significant spending power. Raising their salaries, therefore, has a serious bearing on business. What the workers are asking for is quite reasonable too in the circumstances. It does not make sense for employers to resist increasing wages, when at the same time they expect workers to spend the same money on their services and products, and consequently grow their businesses.

If the workers do not have worthwhile disposable incomes, the question arises: who are the businesses producing their goods and services for? It is also strange, as the worker representative rightly noted, that business was charging for goods and services in United States dollars and yet was reluctant to peg its workers' salaries on the interbank rate. Common sense says that is what must be done, unless if the employers are simply after profiteering without caring for the welfare of their employees.

If government and business insist that the economy must not re-dollarise, workers should therefore be paid wages that enable them to survive in this economy. As long as the workers will not be able to report for work or feed their families, then this will further plunge the economy into turmoil as working hours and days will be limited.

It is equally essential for the employers, under Emcoz, to also seriously look into ensuring that employees are sufficiently and decently paid to be able to function and spend.

The majority of workers in the country are operating under very difficult circumstances, and this needs employers to have a human face and feel for their workers who help to keep their businesses afloat.


Source - newsday
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