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More Zimbabwean workers survive on less than US$1/day


Shakeman Mugari

THE bulk of Zimbabwe’s workforce is now living on less than the international standard of US$1 a day.



-serif”>This includes skilled employees such as teachers and civil servants.

Government’s gazetted minimum wage has been pinned at around $47 000 per month while the poverty datum line according to recent numbers from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) is now hovering around $191 000 per month.


Using the parallel rate which is now widely accepted as the market rate it means that the bulk of workers in Zimbabwe are now living on less than US$0,30 a day. The international standard is at least US$1 a day.


The breadbasket for a family of six is now worth $560 000 a month which is far more than most workers are paid per month.


The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the situation was deteriorating every month and the country’s average minimum wage is now far below international standards.


“Zimbabweans are starting to doubt whether it is worth going to work at all. It is a sad scenario where your salary cannot even take you home,” said ZCTU’s public relations department.


“The government gazetted minimum wage has not changed since the start of this year. Yet things are changing, inflation is eroding the worker’s earnings,” said the labour group.


Newly elected president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Luckson Zembe said the workforce is sinking into poverty.


“We have a workforce that is sinking deeper and deeper into misery each day they go to work,” said Zembe.


“We need to gradually move towards the international standard of at least US$1 a day, otherwise we will have a poverty stricken and malnutritioned worker who will obviously fail to perform.


“What we have here is not a minimum wage but a poverty wage that should be reviewed immediately for the benefit of the employer and the business,” Zembe said.


Although government has stuck to the minimum wage gazetted this year, most companies have since reviewed wage levels.


The new wages which according to ZCTU average $100 000 a month still fall short of the standard and the poverty datum line.


They are still far below the required international standards.


The International Labour Organisation had not commented on the issue by yesterday.


Analysts say Zimbabwe’s labour relations situation is likely to worsen in the near future courtesy of simmering conflict between employer and employee over salaries.


Job actions have become a common sight in Zimbabwe.


The health delivery system is on its knees due to the ongoing strike by doctors and nurses.


The postal system has also been affected by the perennial strikes by workers.


Government last week announced a massive $3,18 trillion wage bill for wages and salaries in the civil services.

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