BY RICHARD MUPONDE
Workers’ representatives stormed out of a Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) meeting in Harare yesterday in protest after government said it was unable to intervene in salary negotiations.
Labour has been calling for salary increments to compensate for the erosion of workers’ earnings.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo yesterday confirmed that labour organisations walked out of the meeting.
“We had a scheduled TNF today (yesterday),” he said.
“Remember it is coming after one aborted in December. We had agreed to proceed after the government had indicated that it had received feedback from Cabinet regarding the impasse around wages and salaries.
“The impasse was around how to compensate workers for the erosion of their wages and salaries. Labour had argued that they wanted to be paid in foreign currency since the economy had dollarised or have the money indexed against the foreign currency wages and salaries. The impasse went for the whole year, but nothing was resolved.”
He said they moved out of yesterday’s meeting after Labour minister Paul Mavima advised them that Cabinet had said it was not going to intervene in the salary issues as it was a matter for the enterprises and National Employment Councils (NECs).
“If you look at wages and salaries being determined by NECs, they are horrible and workers are living in a crisis,” Moyo said.
“We were there as ZCTU, ZFTU (Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions) and Apex Council.
“The three of us then agreed that we can’t continue with the meeting which is not going to deal with the salary issue for workers. We couldn’t just hold the meeting to make someone happy that a meeting was held. Workers don’t eat meetings, but money and we walked out,” he
ZFTU secretary-general Kennias Shamuyarira also confirmed the position, adding that the TNF was dysfunctional and had not helped to defend the cause of workers. He said instead, the government advised them that they should revert to local currency when workers were walloping in poverty. We then stormed out of the meeting. What it means is that the TNF is dysfunctional and has been dysfunctional since its birth,” he said.
Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander could not be reached for comment.
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