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'Obscene' salaries an act of financial terrorism

31 Jan 2014 at 07:14hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union (Zewu) has welcomed government's decision to demand salary schedules for all parastatals bosses who are reported to be earning 'obscene' salaries and allowances.

The union now feels vindicated because it has always raised these issues during collective bargaining, especially in the energy sector, which is mostly dominated by parastatals.

We are calling on government to appoint forensic auditors from reputable firms to guard against being misled by most of these now jittery and heartless managers at these parastatals who can avail cooked figures to conceal the magnitude of their acts of 'constructive' thievery.

The union notes with regret that this revelation of unimaginable salaries, allowances and huge perks earned by the top chefs, in a country almost at its knees, is an act of economic terrorism.

The perpetrators should not only be investigated, reprimanded or fired, but should be prosecuted for economic sabotage.

This purge should not be limited to chefs at parastatals only but should be extended to all sectors of industry, including the private sector whose financial operations are largely opaque and often shrouded in secrecy.

In comparison with salaries earned by top executives of companies in developed countries, our case has set a bad example, especially when the country is struggling to secure capital loans from the international community.

The union feels that this act of financial immorality by chefs has also been largely responsible for the country's economic woes whose solution remains a pipe dream.

We are also calling on the government to publish all the salary and perks of senior management of all parastatals once the information is made available because this is of public interest given that millions of workers , graduates and school leavers have been rendered jobless because of high levels of economic crimes such as the awarding of these above normal salaries to a few heartless and selfish individuals running public and private enterprises in Zimbabwe.

Given this scenario, the union is calling on all stakeholders to lobby parliament to pass legislation that puts a ceiling on salaries and perks for senior management at all public institutions and companies in the country, especially in our struggling and collapsing parastatals.

These laws should also stipulate the minimum wage acceptable for the lowest paid worker and the best option would be to use the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) as an acceptable benchmark.

This, we feel, would go a long way in protecting vulnerable workers against earning 'poverty wages' and also ensuring that management earn realistic salaries that do not cripple the operations of their respective enterprises and cause further damage to the country's already ailing economy.

The union is also calling on all workers employed at parastatals and other companies in Zimbabwe to raise the flag if they observe management committing daylight robbery by awarding themselves 'out of this world' salaries and perks while the majority of workers are made to share crumbs.

In view of this, government should rope in the police's commercial crime unit to institute thorough investigations over other unethical business practice, especially in parastatals, where reports of huge financial scandals have become the order of the day.

Martin Chikuni
Zewu general secretary

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Source - Zewu general secretary
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