EMPLOYEES at Waverley Blankets have downed tools protesting against the company’s refusal to comply with an arbitration outcome that ordered all textile employers to increase their workers’ salaries to a minimum of US$184 per month.
Waverley Blankets employees spent Tuesday night locked inside company premises in Graniteside industrial area, Harare, following a wage deadlock with their employer.
The National Employment Council (Nec) for the Textile Manufacturing Industry recently said deadlocks on wage negotiations in the sector would now been resolved through voluntary arbitration as agreed by the parties.
“Accordingly, the arbitral tribunal awarded that the minimum wage be US$184 with the same percentage differential applying across all grades/levels.
“That all companies in the textile manufacturing industry shall pay 45% of minimum wages in United States dollars and the remaining balance of 55% shall be paid in local currency, ie Zimbabwe dollar, at the prevailing official exchange rate, at the date of processing. For the avoidance of doubt, the official exchange rate refers to the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] auction rate.”
According to sources at Waverley Blankets, the company’s managing director applied to Nec seeking an exemption from paying the wages agreed during the arbitration.
In response, the council wrote back declining the application for exemption.
“It should be noted that your application for exemption was considered and declined. In other words, it was turned down or rejected and, therefore, there is no pending application for exemption before the Nec,” the council said.
“In the circumstance, the status quo of the arbitral award is still in force until it is set aside by a competent court.”
The employees have vowed to continue striking until the company complies with the arbitration outcome.