By Admore Marambanyika
THE Government has gazetted new salary scales for domestic workers who include housekeepers, cooks and gardeners with basic pay ranging from $10 000 to $11 576 which has been been condemned by unions as inadequate and falling short of what had been pegged at the wages and salaries advisory council for domestic workers .
According to the newly gazetted Labour Employment Regulation Number 21 of 2022, a gardener is entitled to $10 000 a month, a housekeeper, $10 500 while those who take care of the old and disabled should be paid $11 025 and those with a Red Cross Certificate or equivalent should get $11 576,25.
These wages are for live-in employees as those who reside out of work premises should be paid an extra $4 000 for accommodation and transport. Gardeners will also receive $50,50 per hour while child minders get $55,68.
To put these figures into perspective, they translate to US$22.22 per month for the gardener, US$23.33 per month for the cook/housekeeper/maid, US$24.50 per month for the childminder/age minder and US$25.73 per month for the disabled/aged minder when you use the unofficial but widely used black market rates. On the streets, United States Dollars are trading for around ZWL $450.
The Zimbabwe Domestics and Allied Workers Union has condemned the newly gazetted wages calling for an urgent review arguing that the government is out of sync with reality.
The union’s deputy general secretary Toindepi Dhure said the figures were a mockery considering that the economy has self dollarized.
“Considering that 2 L cooking oil is now US10 and bread rtgs 350, a minimum wage of zwd 10,000 will not keep a domestic worker for 30 days. To us this is a mockery to social and economic justice. The consumer basket is ZWL120,000. A domestic worker is supposed to work the whole year to finance his/her monthly requirements,” he said.
He urged government to be realistic when handling welfare issues.
“The Government is not sincere and we are not happy about this. Something must be wrong with the government. Why is it every worker in Zimbabwe is crying because of economic hardships. Why is a government with a listening President refusing to listen to the loud cry by its people. No working person is happy with what they earn. In January 2022, the wages and salaries advisory Council agreed on a $15000 minimum wage for a domestic worker and $25000 for an unclassified employee. There is no explanation by the Minister why he reduced the agreed minimum wages for the
domestic worker. Why delay the announcement by 5 months. In 2011, a gardener's minimum wage was USD85. Now, 11 years down his wage is eroded to USD25 per month, curtesy of the Minister of Labour. Government has become dangerous to workers,” said Dhure.
Dhure said the union was demanding an argent negotiations meeting on minimum wages for domestic workers and the ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers now.
However, at the government’s interbank foreign currency rate, where 1 United States Dollar is pegged at ZWL$291, the new wages are as follows:
US$34.36 per month for the gardener,
US$36.08 per month for the cook/housekeeper/maid,
US$37.89 per month for the childminder/aged minder and
US$39.78 per month for the disabled/aged minder who has a Red Cross certificate.
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