The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for a reduction in salaries and perks for top management which the union says have become so huge they were choking production.
Business has of late complained that the unrealistically high salaries workers were demanding and being awarded by the national employment councils were making business uncompetitive.
But ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe says the business community was paying its top management extravagant salaries and perks and was therefore responsible for the unsustainable state of affairs.
“High management salaries and perks are the major contributors to the huge wage bills.
We challenge any business organisation that makes such claims to make public what top management in their companies are earning,” said Chibebe.
He said business claims that unrealistic wage increments awarded by national employment councils were undermining the competitiveness of business as “labour costs now rank second after raw materials in terms of contribution to production costs” were unjustified as they were not taking into account the salaries and perks for senior managers.
“What business is not disclosing is how much the top executives contribute to the perceivably huge wage bills,” he said.
“Executives are the ones who are looting and milking companies at the expense of the ordinary workers and yet the same executives are the ones who are pointing a finger at workers accusing them of being unrealistic in terms of wage demands,” he said.
Chibebe said Zimbabwe was the most expensive country in the southern African region in terms of goods and services but also had the least paid workers.
He said workers in South Africa, for example, earned between three to five times more than those in Zimbabwe, yet goods and services in Zimbabwe cost up to five times higher than in South Africa.
Ironically, he said, Zimbabwe’s executives earned more than those in other countries in the region although the country was coming out of a crisis.
Chibebe said workers would therefore continue to demand salaries linked to the poverty datum line (PDL).
“Even the High Court has confirmed the ZCTU position that workers deserve a PDL-linked salary as in the determination of the Air Zimbabwe case,” he said.