WORKERS in the public and private sectors have benefited from a steady increase of basic salaries between January 2020 and January this year due to a stable economic environment engendered by good Government policies, a national salaries survey has revealed.
This comes as the Government has said it will soon start deliberations with stakeholders on when the next salary review for civil servants will take effect.
The National Salaries Survey, conducted by a local company Stallone Consultancy, forecast that better days lie ahead for workers, as national policies such as the National Development Strategy (NDS1) will lead to further salary increases.
According to the survey, remuneration will continue to improve in 2021, if the current stability is maintained.
“The launch of the blueprint (NDS1) and its 14 national priority areas have brought hope in the employment sector, especially the price stability that characterised the economy in the last quarter of 2020. Some of the 14 national priority areas in the NDS1 have given hope for example, good governance, social protection and human capital development. The Second Republic has created hope and determination.”
According to the survey, most companies and workers’ unions agreed on a minimum wage of around $18 000, which is only $2 000 shy of the Poverty Datum Line with more salary increases expected across the board this month.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima concurred with the survey’s findings, saying his office had signed off a number of agreements between employers and National Employment Councils which were “around or above the minimum wage”.
“This time around we have not reviewed the minimum wage as the Government, we have left that to the employers and the unions to discuss. And we have seen that it’s working because we are approving agreements which are more or less above
the Poverty Datum Line. We have also done that in Government where we have time and again reviewed the salaries of civil servants to at least be above the Poverty Datum Line.”
Prof Mavima revealed that “very soon we will be hearing from the Civil Service Commission to determine when next can we do a salary review for civil servants.”
The survey warned against further increases in prices of basic commodities.
“It is unfortunate that as at beginning of February 2021, prices had started to rise again, a situation of which if it persists will force employees to bargain for higher earnings.”
According to the survey, despite the increase in remuneration, 70 percent of employees are still earning below the Poverty Datum Line.
“. . . the country has 51 operational NECs (National Employment Councils) and as of January 2021 only six had pegged minimum wages above the Poverty Datum Line pegged at about $18 860 using the international index system,” reads the survey report.
“Consequently 70 percent of employees are earning below Poverty Datum Line with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe family basket of six was pegged at $20 895 a month for December 2020.”
The survey showed that majority of remuneration was still pegged in local currency, with only 21 percent of companies wholly paying in foreign currency, while 33 percent are partly paying foreign currency.
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), mining, insurance and export sectors were among the top-paying sectors.
Executive salaries range from U$4 500 — US$11 800 per month all punctuated with a plethora of benefits which are about 150 percent of the basic salary in some instances, according to the survey.
Stallone Consultancy managing director Dr Zack Murerwa said worryingly, the income gap between general workers and company executives continues to grow.
“The salaries and benefits of top executives are way above those of general workers. You look at the vehicles that the companies are buying for top executives and you will realise that it’s a huge amount of money going to a few people while the majority is barely above the poverty datum line or the minimum wage.”
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director Mr Israel Murefu said: “In our own situation what we believe is salaries must move in tandem with inflation rates. What is key is the ability to pay, particularly with the Covid-19 pandemic that we face.”
Apex council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander was not available for comment yesterday, as her phone was unreachable.