Zimbabwe textile workers threaten crippling strike over USD payments

By William Milasi

The Zimbabwe Textile Workers Union (ZTWU) has told its membership in the Mashonaland Region to brace for a crippling strike if employers within the sector fail to meet their demands of United States Dollar pegged salaries.

The union’s General Secretary Norman Makono in a letter dated 2 February 2023 has put the employers on notice.

The letter has been copied to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, National Employment Council for the Textile Manufacturing Industry (NEC Textile Manufacturing) Zimbabwe Textile Workers Union (ZWTU) Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers Association (ZITMA) put all textile manufacturing industry in Mashonaland Region if they fail to respond by 14 February.

“The workers in the Textile Manufacturing Companies based in Mashonaland Region hereby give notice on intention to go on strike. We demand payment of wages in United States Dollar (USD). All companies in this region are trading in USD and as workers we are directly involved in the sales yet we are paid our wages/salaries in 100% zwl (local currency). The statutory instrument 185 of 2020 allows payment of goods and services in USD,” he said before declaring textile workers would only resume work upon payment of USD salaries, “Therefore no wages in USD, NO work.”

Makono added that workers within his sector are also demanding their allowances in USD.

 “The issue has been under discussion for a long time. At Works Council level, the employers refer us to the National Employment Council and NEC vice versa. If you calculate the little that we get as wage/salary all goes for transport and rental costs. The worker remains with nothing to live on with his family and we feel the employees are not taking the welfare of workers seriously as workers continue offering free labour. That’s more of slavery,” he said.

Makono expressed optimism that the employers will meet the employees’ demands.

“It is our hope and trust that the employers in the Textile Manufacturing Industry in this region will understand our demands and value them with urgency. If our demands are not addressed at the earliest possible time, workers are prepared to down tools after 14 days from the date of this letter. We hope and trust that the above will be dealt with urgently and positively to promote industrial harmony and high productivity in our industry,” he said.

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