ZCTU bemoans tough year for workers’, says wages below US$600 Poverty Datum Line |

By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says the year 2023 will go down memory lane as one of the toughest for workers with the majority earning salaries way below the current US$600 Poverty Datum Line mark.

Presenting a message to mark the year’s end, ZCTU President Florence Taruvinga said the economy started on a very slow note and continued to deteriorate further as it progressed up to year-end with “little or no improvement registered” at all in the lives of the ordinary workers.

“Average monthly incomes lag far behind the average cost of living. The Poverty Datum Line (PDL) is now around US$600 compared to an average wage of US$250 which is only about 42% of the PDL. We need to push towards at least 75 percent of the PDL.

“The majority of workers are not able to meet the basic needs of life and have been reduced to the “working poor”,” she said.

She said the conditions indicate huge s decent work deficits which are even worse off in other sectors such as the agricultural where some employers insist on paying a measly US$70 a month as a salary.

Taruvinga said the charging of social services such as health, basic utilities, transport and education in foreign currency has put a great burden on workers as they are unable to meet these basics of life making their time at work unbearable.

The ZCTU leader said the government has only succeeded in shifting the burden of tax away from corporations and companies to workers whose salaries are acknowledged to be among the lowest on the African continent.

“Although some of the proposed taxes were reviewed downwards, the ZCTU believes that the charges are still outrageous and that Minister Mthuli Ncube is living in outer space.

“His proposals are a clear indication that the powers in government are detached from the lived realities of the majority of citizens. Next year (2024) will be a hard and difficult year for workers and Zimbabweans,” she said.

She added that going into the new year, trade unions have a serious task next year to fight for a living wage in the face of a regime of taxes.

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