Construction workers mull strike

Source: Construction workers mull strike – NewsDay Zimbabwe

CONSTRUCTION workers have given a 72-hour notice to down tools if their salary demands are not met.

In a memorandum, Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers Union general-secretary Muchapiwa Mazarura said despite entering into salary negotiations in March, their demands for better pay have been ignored.

Mazarura said nothing tangible came out of the salary negotiations between workers and employers, who included the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ) and Zimbabwe Building Constructors Association (ZBCA).

“In terms of the National Employment Council (NEC) Constitution, it states that after parties of the council have reached an agreement, they must sign the circular which would have been prepared and circulated by the NEC secretariat. In line with this constitutional obligation, the NEC secretariat has prepared the wages circular and sent it to all the parties involved,” Mazarura said in the memo addressed to all workers in the construction industry and companies.

“As it stands at this moment, there hasn’t been any official communication as to whether CIFOZ has taken this deliberate action. We, therefore, bring this to your attention that if the employers’ organisation, that is, CIFOZ and ZBCA maintains this unconstitutional position of not honouring the position which was reached by the highest body of NEC, as the workers’ organisation we will be left with no option, but to call for a national work stoppage. This position has been agreed by the trade union leadership,” he said.

Mazarura called on all construction workers in the country to unite and ensure they deal with their “capitalist employers”.

“As you are aware we started the negotiation process in March 2022 and up to now they are still refusing to respect the workers by paying them a decent living wage,” he said, adding that functional infrastructure and development in the country can only be attained through the work of construction workers.

“Please note that if there is no positive action done by the employers within 72 hours, we are going to down tools,” Mazarura said.

Efforts to get a comment from CIFOZ president Emmanuel Chimedza were fruitless yesterday as he was not picking up calls. ZBCA president Petros Kagwere’s mobile phone was not reachable.

In a related matter, a trade union representing all security companies in the country has called for salary adjustments for all security guards.

Private Security Workers Union secretary-general Jonh Manyuchi yesterday said all security companies need to pay their workers using a single currency.

“What the employers are doing is that there are some security companies that are paying their employees in United States dollars, while some companies are paying employees in local currency,” he said.

“We call for sanity in the sector. The workers are requesting restoration of their buying power in denominating their salaries in US dollars.”

In a statement, the National Employment Council for the Security Industry of Zimbabwe said during a meeting on July 8, 2022, unions demanded that the least paid in the industry must get US$260 per month, to be paid at the prevailing interbank rate on the date of the salary payment.

“The employers revised their offer to $65 000 for July 2022, $75 000 for August and $85 000 for September 2022.  The unions revised their offer to US$254 for the entire quarter denominated in RTGS at the prevailing interbank rate for July only being $100 000 and August and September have to be negotiated separately,” read the NEC statement.

They said the negotiators will meet two more times, but if they fail to agree, the matter would be referred to arbitration to avoid paralysing the security industry.

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