The trainmen Workers’ Union (TWU) has denounced the 38% wage increase across the board recently awarded by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), saying it widened the gap between the poor and the rich.
TWU, which was excluded from the wage bargaining, is currently embroiled in a labour dispute with the NRZ and other four unions representing workers at the parastatal over its legal registration.
However, NRZ, Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers’ Union, Railway Artisan Union, Railway Association of Enginemen (Rae), and the Railway Association of Yard Operating Staff recently agreed on a wage increment of 38% across the board.
The unions have, however, said their aim was to push for poverty datum line-linked wages. TWU secretary-general Andrew Chaka said they were opposed to the uniform increment, but wanted salary increases to be awarded on a sliding scale, which would enable those that were lowly paid to get a higher increment.
“This concept means the gap between the poor and the rich will continue to widen.
“Someone getting a salary of $1 000, with the 38% increment will get $380 more while someone earning $100 will only get $38.
“This is totally unrealistic,” said Chaka.
Rae secretary -general Wilmore Muza confirmed the increment was agreed upon two weeks ago.
“Our wish is to have poverty-datum-line linked wages, but due to the utility’s financial status which it explained to us, we had to agree on the increment which pegged the lowest paid worker at $171 per month,” said Muza.
NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati was not available for comment as he was said to be in a meeting. On February 16 this year Labour Court Judge President Selo Nare reserved judgement over TWU’s registration to a yet to be given date.