ZIMBABWE’S private security guards, for long subjected to slave wages despite the inherent risks associated with their line of duty, have declared that they will not settle for wages below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) in this year’s wage negotiations set to resume in March.
By Christopher Mahove
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Philemon Nhema, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Security Guards Union (Zisegu), said it was only logical that they be given wages that were in line with the PDL, which now stands at $540 per month. Nhema said if other sectors were negotiating based on production levels, then security guards should be paid better than most sectors as they were tasked with guarding the billions of dollars in the country’s financial institutions.
“We are currently holding consultative meetings at branch levels where members are emphasising that nothing short of the PDL will be entertained. If there are going to be any meaningful negotiations, then we will have to start from the PDL,” Nhema said.
The least paid security guard is currently getting $214 per month and housing and transport allowances of $10 and $12 respectively, which Nhema described as a pittance.
He said Zisegu, which was the biggest security guards’ union in the country, with 4 700 members, was currently engaging its mother body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Labour and Economic Research Institute of Zimbabwe (Ledriz) to assist with the training of its negotiators.
“We have approached the ZCTU and Ledriz with the view to have them conduct at least a two-day orientation and training programme for our negotiators to adequately prepare them for the negotiations set to start in early March.
“We only started negotiations as Zisegu last year and we want to ensure that this time around our negotiators are able to stand up to the employers,” he said. He said in order to increase visibility countrywide, the union would soon open offices in Masvingo and Gweru, which will bring to five the number of its regional offices across the country.