SOME financially-troubled Bulawayo companies were reportedly paying their employees in kind instead of cash, as they could no longer afford remuneration, NewsDay has learnt.Report by Sheryleen Masuka, Own Correspondent
But Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa condemned the practice and pledged to investigate the matter in an effort to stop it.
“I am not aware of the matter. It is illegal to do so and I will be sending people to go and investigate the issue,” she said.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions regional chairperson Reason Ngwenya yesterday described the practice as illegal.
“This is not acceptable. You cannot evaluate anything if it is paid in kind. That law would be valid maybe if the two parties were negotiating. That statement must be repealed,” Ngwenya said.
The disclosures came up at a recent launch of the Understanding Urban Poverty study that was conducted by independent researchers Whitehead Zikhali and Tamudashe Moyo in Bulawayo.
Moyo told NewsDay yesterday most firms in the city were paying their employees using finished products such as shoes, bread and clothes instead of cash, taking advantage of the liquidity crunch affecting the economy.
“We had a case in Thorngrove where a bakery was giving workers bread in place of salaries. The bakery has since closed. Some companies are paying workers clothes or shoes in the industrial areas,” Moyo said.
An employee at a shoe-manufacturing firm in Belmont, who refused to be identified for security reasons, said the company last month paid workers pairs of shoes as part of their salaries.
“It is true that is what is happening in the industries. We are given money to survive, maybe $30 per month or a pair of shoes. We start work at 7:30am and dismiss at 4:30pm. The money that we get is not enough for food or transport and as a result, we walk to work,” said the worker.
The General Labour Act Chapter 28:01 states that: “remuneration may be payable in kind only in industries or occupations where such payment is customary”.
The Act further states that remuneration in kind shall not substitute entirely, remuneration in money.