WORKERS in the detergents, edible oils and fats sector have refused to accept a paltry $5 salary increase offered by their employers and have taken the matter for arbitration.
This was disclosed by the out-going president of the Detergents, Edible Oils and Fats Workers’ Union Mathias Dzikiti at a special elective congress held in Harare at the weekend.
Dzikiti said the sector had not had salary negotiations for the past two years, a situation that has resulted in members of the union being the least paid compared to those in other sectors.
Since the introduction of the multi-currency regime in 2009, Dzikiti said, negotiations had been difficult to conclude due to non-cooperation by employers, forcing salaries to be determined by arbitrators.
“The current negotiations have seen us referring the matter for arbitration as the employers were offering a paltry 2,5% increment which translates to $5 of the current minimums the whole year,” Dzikiti said.
Dzikiti said the case will be heard on Friday.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Food Federation and Allied Workers’ Union general-secretary John Peter Gwatiringa said workers in the sector should be united as employers were taking advantage of the disunity among workers to victimise elected union members.
He urged those elected into the new executive to be fearless and commit to serving their members.
“Unionism is not an easy thing as you will be at the forefront of fighting for workers’ rights.
“You will have to fight with lawmakers, employers and the government.
“If they don’t put food on our table, we will take them headlong, so if you are not prepared to fight, don’t contest this election,” he said.
Meanwhile, a labour officer who presided over the congress elections, Evans Machikiti, urged the union to establish a pension fund for the industry in order to cushion its members when they eventually retired.