TODAY workers commemorate Workers’ Day the world over, but for Zimbabwean workers there is nothing much to celebrate.
Faced with a government with no heart for workers and ineffective labour unions in the country, the Zimbabwean worker remains stuck in abject poverty, barely surviving 33 years after Independence. Most families have had to make do on less than $2 per day.
Workers will gather in various parts of the country with sorry faces and shut mouths for they have nowhere to complain to lest they are shown the exit door. Employers are now capitalising on the high unemployment rate of more than 90% and threaten workers whenever the issue of pay is raised.
Four years since the formation of the coalition government, the workers’ story is yet to transform from despair to hope. Food is now readily available in shops, but not everybody can afford to purchase it.
Various attempts at downing tools by civil servants have failed to force government to the negotiating table, a development that has seen other private sector players take the same route. Government being the largest employer, with more than 200 000 on its payroll, should show its sincerity by taking care of its biggest asset, the workers.
Sadly, while employees continue to languish in poverty, senior government officials have been busy parcelling themselves out huge perks.
The leaders have decided to play politics with the matter, blaming individual political parties for their failure to act.
Government statistics show that government workers earn an average of $300 monthly against the poverty datum line estimated at $550. Many have now resorted to unorthodox survival tactics and commodity broking to improve their livelihoods.
With companies closing each day on the back of depressed capacity utilisation, the majority of economically active citizens are now turning to the informal sector with independent statistics showing that at least 70% of the economy is informalised.
The consumer basket for a family of six is at $573 yet many workers in the country earn less than $500 per month.
Many companies remain without committees to represent the workers as the few that dare to fight are sent packing with Chitungwiza Town Council being a good example after dismissing some members of the workers’ committee.
So, as the country joins the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day, spare a thought for the Zimbabwean worker.
The employees are the company’s greatest asset. What they say about your company, how they act in the workplace, and how happy they are in their roles all impact on the company’s brand, image, and customer satisfaction.
Unfortunately, the Zimbabwean worker remains poor, silenced and downtrodden with no one to cry to.