A MAJOR collective bargaining dispute is looming between the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) over demands for salary increme
nts of between 150-200%. The new salaries should take effect from next month.
Real wages in the sector have fluctuated between 1995 and 2005.
According to a draft paper of the collective bargaining exercise, the minimum wage in the sector as of April was $2,4 million which the workers said was too low given the high cost of living.
“Following the decline in inflation the real wage index rose from 103,3 to 170,7 between 2003 and 2004 but wage reviews have not been consistent with the rate of inflation as indicated by the movement of the poverty datum line,” Zibawu says.
“Inflation has eaten away the gains made by the wage review of January 2005. The real wage is expected to continue to be eroded by inflation which has started rising again from 123,7% to 129,1% between March and April 2005.” It was reported this week to stand at 144,4%.
It is understood the central bank has said the employees should be given 120%.
Financial analysts also said given last year’s tremors in the banking sector, few firms were keen to part with more than 110% in salary increments.
Zibawu said the economy was facing a crisis of unprecedented levels, which warranted a salary review ranging from 150-200%.
It said Zimbabweans could no longer enjoy their basic rights to food, health, education, shelter, affordable transport, employment and income security among others.
“Rising prices have effectively eroded incomes, especially as wage negotiations have failed to keep abreast with inflation. Clearly it is therefore crucial that National Employment Councils negotiate minimum wages linked to the poverty datum line,” Zibawu said.
“It is in the interest of both the employee and the employer to sustainably improve the standard of living of the employee. For the employee, rising real income improves his/her wellbeing, while for the employer, good working conditions are a stimulus for increased performance, dutifulness and loyalty.
In this regard, it is important to trace the trends in real wages to check whether the wellbeing of the employees is improving over time.”
The poverty datum line for a family of six has been set at $3,1 million per month.
The poverty datum line is calculated based on the consumer price index, which is used to compute inflation.