Employees in the electronics sector who were pushing for a 100% salary increment are up in arms with their employers following an arbitral award which ordered employers to effect increments of 35% for the month of April, 10% for May and a further 10% for June.

Workers who were represented by the National Union of the Metal and Allied Industries (NUMAIZ), and the Employers Association in the Electronics Sector had reached a wage negotiation deadlock for the period April to June 2022 resulting in the matter being referred for compulsory arbitration.

Employees through NUMAIZ had requested a 100% monthly wage increase distributed thus April 100%, May 100% and June 100%, suggesting that in April the minimum salary will be ZWL$86494,70.

‘Ironically the said ZWL$86494.70 asked by employees as a salary increment for the month of April is far below the ZWL$108480 which is required for transport and rentals for the same month,’ reads part of NUMAIZ’ submissions to the Arbitrator.   

‘This is a sad situation,’ went on the submissions, ‘considering that claimants will not survive on transport and shelter alone, other basic needs like food, health, clothing and school fees are a requisite.

Part of the submissions from the Electronics Communications and allied employers association submitted through its chairman Reason Chitiva reads thus, ‘the negotiation positions recorded in the NEC’s official minutes will indicate that the employers initially offered 2.5% each month for April, May and June 2022, and that this was later improved to 5% a month’

In her ruling Masukume wrote that, ‘having prudently analysed the parties’ submissions as well as the circumstances surrounding the case.

‘I hereby rule as follows that the basic monthly wage is increased by a 35% in April 2022 that is ZWL$58383.92 and 10% in May 2022 that is ZWL$64222.31 and 10% in June ZWL$70644.55 and that the same increases be implemented on the current wages across the board.

Henry Tarumbira the General Secretary of NUMAIZ bemoaned Masukume’ ruling terming it impertinent to the employee’ quest for a living wage.

‘As NUMAIZ we are advocating for a living wage, it is not viable to award employees a salary increment which is not enough to cater for one’ transport costs alone. This is a rebuke to our hunt for a reasonable, fair and just salary,’ Tarumbira said.

‘We will continue to fight for a living wage through whatever means necessary,’ he added.

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