Trade union blames ghost workers for high wage bill


The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said the issue of the high civil service wage bill is as a result of ghost workers in government and should not be linked to general wages.
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said: “If one ministry has more than 10 000 ghost workers, what of all the ministries?
Salaries of workers both in the public and private sectors have not increased since 2009.
In some sectors workers recorded an increase of a paltry $2 that in no way can cause inflation. He said the private sector takes a cue from government and the fact that there has been no salary increase for government workers means there are no increments.
“Even if increments are awarded, employers have been appealing against the awards,” Chibebe said.
“The only people earning ‘real wages’ are company executives with some earning more than $10 000 coupled with unlimited perks, while the least paid worker takes home a paltry $30. If at all government was to make noise about wages, their first port of call should be the executives’ salaries and perks.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is concerned that the civil service is bloated.
“This is the same IMF that once caused untold suffering to workers as a result of its prescriptions that saw thousands retrenched in the 1990s,” Chibebe charged.
“Currently only 10 % of Zimbabweans are formally employed and presumably this 10 percent is the one fuelling inflation. The IMF and World Bank policies have failed not only in Zimbabwe, but in other countries as well and government should be wary of these institutions’ remedies.”
What is true, he said, is that prices have been increasing steadily while wages have remained stagnant.
The only months that recorded low prices due to competition were the months of April and May where some leading retailers had in-house promotions forcing other players to reduce their prices.
Water and electricity are highly overpriced, given the fact that these services are rarely available.
According to a Consumer Council of Zimbabwe report, electricity and rentals recorded an 8 % increase last year and accounted for 60 % of the Poverty Datum Line.
“The ZCTU is of the strong conviction that government expenditure has been the major driver of inflation,” Chibebe said. “Government has been spending what it does not have. The latest example is a new fleet of cars that have been bought for the police. The cars include BMW’s, Mercedes Benz, Toyota Vigo’s and Isuzus. These are expensive cars yet the trend the world over is for police to use vehicles that are suitable for their operations.”