TNF partners agree on part payment of US dollar salaries
Harare (New Ziana) –A Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) technical committee meeting held two weeks ago agreed that employers should pay workers a portion of their salaries in United States dollars, depending on the percentage of their foreign currency earnings, an official said on Thursday.
The TNF is a platform for social dialogue which brings together the Government, business and labour to discuss key socio-economic issues and make recommendations.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) secretary general Kenias Shamuyarira told New Ziana that recommendations of the technical committee, which met in Mutare, were supposed to be presented to the main TNF.
The main TNF had been scheduled to meet on Thursday, but was postponed to a later date.
“It was agreed that employers, including the government, cannot pay full dollarized salaries since they charge their products and services in both RTGS and US dollars,” he said.
“We therefore agreed that we go for proportionate payment in terms of percentage of foreign currency earnings, that is, those who earn 60 percent USD will pay 30 percent USD and the rest in RTGs, so that workers are cushioned.”
Shamuyarira said it would not be difficult to determine the portions that the various companies would pay in foreign currency, since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority kept that data.
He said unions would also rely on their members for information on those employers who were declaring false information about their foreign currency earnings.
“We have established compliance task teams, which will take stock of earnings and report those companies and organisation that were under-declaring their revenues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shamuyarira said out of the 34 registered National Employment Councils (NECs) in the country, none had negotiated salaries above ZWL100 000 per month for their members.
“Only a few are at ZWL98 000, the majority are ranging between ZWL40 000 and ZWL70 000 per month,” he said.
He said most workers were struggling to make ends meet in the hyperinflationary environment the country was in, as they had to borrow money for transport and rent.
“Workers are carrying the country on their shoulders,” said Shamuyarira.
Zimbabweans are waking up to new prices of basic commodities almost every day as industry and commerce are benchmarking their charges on the parallel exchange rate, which is ranging between 1US$ to ZWL800.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in June 2019 launched the TNF Act, which provides a legal framework for reigniting and fostering social dialogue, which collapsed 10 years ago due to mistrust and finger-pointing among the parties.
Before the enactment of the enabling Act, the TNF had been a voluntary platform since 1998, with parties not bound by its resolutions.
Since its revival in 2019, the TNF has hit turbulence with the issue of salaries being the main sticking point as workers demand payment of salaries in United States dollars, citing escalating prices of basic commodities.
The Government and labour have fought in the same corner in rejecting the proposal, citing the harm wrought on the economy by Covid-19, which has seen many companies scaling down operations, while others closed shop.