Zimcodd lobbies for US$ salaries

Zimcodd lobbies for US$ salaries

THE Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has rallied behind government workers in demanding salaries denominated in United States dollars, arguing that the 100% increment that government effected this month has already been wiped out by inflation. 

Last month, government announced a 100% increment on local currency earnings for public workers, plus a US$50 increment, which will see the least-paid civil servant getting around $80 000 and US$250.

“While the latest 100% local currency salary increment is lucrative in nominal terms, persisting ZWL deterioration is reducing the real value on a weekly basis,” Zimcodd said in its latest report.

“For instance, at the current parallel exchange rate of ZWL/$1300, a teacher’s new average salary of $80 000 reduces to a paltry US$62. The amount is not in sync with basic household demands such as food, clothing, housing, education, health care, transport, and retirement savings. It is therefore the public’s position that salaries must be pegged in US dollars with the larger portion paid in foreign currency in line with a rapidly re-dollarizing economy. This will increase forex liquidity in the formal channels, thereby subduing depreciation pressures emanating particularly from rent-seeking behaviours.”

Government unilaterally raised the salaries of its workers after abandoning negotiations with the Zimbabwe Congress of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).

“The review of salaries for public workers was long overdue. The last review was effected in July 2022 upscaling average salary by 100% to $40 000. But mounting ZWL depreciation and inflation have significantly reduced purchasing power. Statistics show that from July 2022 to date, the ZWL erased at least 50% of its value against the US$ in both markets while ZWL price inflation rate hovered above 200%. This plunged civil servants to earn below the poverty datum line,” Zimcodd said.

ZCPSTU secretary-general David Dzatsunga said they were pushing for salary talks to resume and force government to consider their demands.

“We had not agreed on the increment with government.  Considering the various inflationary factors that are affecting the workers’ earnings, it justifies our call that the earnings should have been backdated to January.  We have not signed an agreement with regards to the increment, so it is nullity. We are pushing for a meeting with government so that we reach an agreement. We want a conclusion on our demands on workers’ salaries,” he said.

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