Codelia Mondela, Business Reporter
CONSTRUCTION sector workers have been awarded a three percent salary increase, which their union feels is too little to cushion them from the rising cost of living.
Workers in the sector earn about $310 monthly, which falls below the poverty datum line average of $500. Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trades Workers’ Union (ZCATWU) leadership met their membership in Bulawayo last Friday to discuss the matter after their employers reportedly indicated the new pay offer will come into effect next month.
ZCATWU’s national general secretary Mr Muchapiwa Nicholus Mazarura told workers that the union had accepted the three percent pay rise offer but said that negotiations were still on. He said as the union they wanted at least five percent increase.
“The union entered into an agreement with the employers’ organisation and the employers said they would increase the salaries by three percent. Initially, when workers were consulted they said they wanted a five percent increase, but negotiations are a give and take so we accepted what they could give at the moment,” Mr Mazarura said.
“We accept that the three percent is not enough, but our employers, contractors have stated that they are facing challenges as the economy is poor. The minimum salary for the workers is $310 and when calculated the three percent, which will be added to the salaries, is about $7.50.”
He said a negotiation committee meeting was held in Harare where an agreement between the union and employers’ organisation was signed on March 27.
Business Chronicle was shown a copy of the agreement, which states that both parties agreed to resolve the 2016 to 2017 deadlock in order to facilitate new negotiations for 2018 to 2019 periods.
“The employers offered a three percent increase as a basis for further negotiations, which ZCATWU accepted. ZCATWU’s proposal remains at five percent as their position paper,” reads the document.
Mr Mazarura also urged the workers to read and be well versed with their rights and supporting statutory instruments to avoid being exploited by their employers at work.
“Employers are the greatest exploiters and take advantage of workers who don’t know their rights,” he said. — @MondelaC