Workers in the retail industry and related services are set to get a windfall after their National Employment Council awarded them a 15 percent wage increase backdated to December last year.
The National Employment Council for Commercial Workers agreed on a 15 percent wage increase during a collective bargaining meeting held recently.
Workers in the retail industry constitute the bulk of employees in a sector which includes funeral parlours, dry cleaners, merchandisers and wholesalers.
The announcement is contained in a Statutory Instrument of a Government Gazette published last Friday.
According to a schedule, the lowest paid worker’s salary in Grade One will rise from $220 to $253 while that of the highest person in Grade 12 is set to rise to $471 from $410.
Those in Grade Five, for instance, will see their wages increase to $300 from $261. Publication of the schedule in a Government Gazette means the collective bargaining agreement has been registered and is binding on all members
All percentage increases awarded to employees from 1st of July, 2013 may be taken into account when implementing the new percentage on condition that, if the adjustment awarded falls short of the collective bargaining agreement’s specified percentage, the affected employees shall receive further increases in the form of the difference between the stipulated percentage increases and the percentage already awarded,” reads the notice.
National Employment Council for Commercial Workers chairperson Advocate Moses Mthombeni confirmed the adjustments but declined to comment further, referring questions to the council’s secretariat.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Mr Japhet Moyo said the increase vindicated their position that it was wrong to impose a blanket salary freeze or to reduce salaries.
“We have said sectors are performing differently and it is important that these sectors determine what they should earn because they have the knowledge of how they are performing.
“One example is that of the food industry and banking sector that are performing well. We expect that to translate into more money for their workers,” said Mr Moyo.
He said as labour, calls for a wage freeze by some captains of industry were misplaced.
“We know that our economy is not performing well but that should never be used as an excuse to impose a blanket freeze on salaries because there are sectors that are doing well even in these difficult times,” he said.
Most companies have now gone for years without offering pay increases citing a harsh economic environment. Others have resorted to retrenching workers on three months’ notice as part of measures to stay afloat.