COMMENT: Companies must emulate Government on forex bonus payment

23 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
COMMENT: Companies must emulate Government on forex bonus payment

The Chronicle

Government has increased civil servants allowances in United States dollars by 25 percent resulting in civil servants earning US$200 a month. The increase in allowances is with effect from this month but the civil servants have, however, appealed to Government to also increase their salaries in local currency. Government offered the allowances increase at a recent National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting and at the same meeting it also made a commitment to once again pay its workers the 13th cheque in forex.

“The employer offered an increase of 25 percent on the US$100 to make it US$125 and maintained the US$75 Covid-19 allowance to make the total US$ package US$200 with effect from the 1st of September 2022,” said Apex council president Mrs Cecelia Alexander in a statement this week.

Mrs Alexander said the employer did no offer or table any increase on the ZW salary and the workers demanded that salary in local currency should also be reviewed.

She said Government made a commitment to pay bonuses in forex but did not provide figures and asked for time to consult on the payment details and the total offer. Last year Government paid its workers bonuses in forex up to a maximum of US$700 while pensioners were paid US$100.

Government said the decision to pay its workers bonuses in forex is meant to cushion them from the adverse effects of fluctuations in exchange rates. The workers have also asked Government to review the $20 000 school fees allowance per child which they said has been eroded by inflation. Government is paying school fees allowances for a maximum of three children for each of its workers.

Government has said it is committed to continue improving the salaries and working conditions of its employees and is walking the talk. The latest increase of allowances in forex is yet another demonstration by Government that it is sensitive to the plight of its workers.

We have said before that engagement between the employer and employees is the only way forward and we are happy civil servants now appreciate this. In the past, the country’s detractors have been inciting civil servants to engage in strikes as opposed to engaging their employer as they are doing now.

Government despite the limited forex at its disposal, is spending a portion of it to cushion its workers against inflation which very few employers in the private sector are doing. Mines and other companies are generating a lot of forex but very few are cushioning their workers by paying a portion of their salaries in forex.

We want to once again call on private sector employers to emulate Government and pay this year’s bonuses in forex to cushion their workers.

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