BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMBABWE’S agriculture industry has awarded its employees a 47% salary increment to cushion them from current economic hardships.
The workers will receive the new salary structure backdated to March 1, 2019.
Before the adjustment, the least paid employee in the horticulture sector was earning ZWL$89 a month, while the highest was taking home ZWL$176.
With the current adjustment, the lowest paid employee will now get ZWL$131 while the highest paid will earn ZWL$259.
The National Employment Council of Zimbabwe for the Agriculture Industry said the wage review and agreement, signed on March 28, was reached by several parties, among them, the Zimbabwe Agriculture Employers Organisation, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, Commercial Farmers’ Union, Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe; Horticulture, General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe.
“All amounts have been rounded off to the nearest RTGS dollar. An employer/employee can apply to the National Employment Council within 14 days for an exemption of partial exemption /review from paying wages as set up in the above schedule, stating the reasons why that application should be considered,” read part of the document.
Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Sixpence said employers should have paid their workers partly in US$.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but not enough to cushion them from the current economic hardships. It was going to be better if they had said they will pay half of their salaries in US dollars and another half in RTGS dollars since they are exporting and earning foreign currency,” he said.
Farm workers in Zimbabwe are among the least paid employees and classified as “working poor”, despite the fact that agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy.
At its peak, the sector used to provide 45% of the country’s exports, 60% of all raw materials used by Zimbabwean industry and 70% employment.