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Zimbabwean Workers Incensed by Salary Hike Freeze

Members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions hold banners advocating the scrapping of taxes on pension benefits. File photo.

Zimbabwean workers are incensed by pronouncements Wednesday by central bank chief John Mangudya that workers should not expect salary increases this year as the country’s economy continues to struggle.

Mangudya made the remarks while presenting his monetary policy in the capital. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa last week made similar statements about the salary freeze while addressing a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries symposium.

The Finance Minister recently said salary increments were “unsustainable and short-sighted”, citing the poor state of the economy.

Adding his voice to the statement, Mangudya said there was no scope for increasing workers’ salaries in the country this year in the absence of corresponding productivity.

But workers are having none of that.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions deputy secretary general Gideon Shoko told VOA workers are angry because they were not consulted.

“This is only good for the employers and not the workers,” said Shoko. “This was not discussed in the tripartite forum where such issues should be discussed. We were not consulted.”

Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe president John Mufukari agrees with Mangudya and Chinamasa over the salary freeze.

“It’s sad that procedures were not followed in this whole thing, that is consulting the workers also on this important issue,” he told VOA.

“I sympathize with the workers but this is the right way to go. Our economy at the moment cannot sustain salary hikes so we all need to work together to make sure we are on the same page.”

Many workers around the country are complaining that their companies are not paying them, with some going over 10 months without receiving their payments.

The country’s economy remains in the woods with many companies closing shops and thousands being thrown onto a saturated job market.

Workers, however, believe that there are some companies that are doing well and could afford to hike salaries.

Interview With John Mufukari & Gideon Shoko
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