Food Sector Employees Slam ‘Selfish’ Employers Over Wages

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FOOD sector workers have slammed their employers for agreeing to salary increments they claimed were still far below the current Total Consumption Poverty Lines (TCPL).

The workers say the proposed wages were inconsistent with the huge US dollar rated profits being generated by companies.

Addressing delegates at the Bakers and Allied Workers Union during the latter’s 6th National Congress, the Food Federation and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (FFAWUZ) secretary general, Runesu Dzimiri slammed the sector’s employers describing them as “selfish capitalists”.

“The latest salary increments are a total mockery with the least paid worker now earning $15 388 while the highest is taking home $20 434.

“What boggles the mind is that employers in the sector are enjoying lucrative profits selling most products at prices rated against US dollar exchange rates,” he said.

Dzimiri said despite such earnings, employers remained reluctant to effect increments which were consistent with the income patterns.

One of the companies operating in the sector, Simbisa Brands posted an inflation adjusted net profit of $850.4 million for the six months ending December 2020, almost doubling its earnings despite the Covid-19 induced lockdowns that impacted on most economic activities.

Revenue was up to $8 billion from $3.9 billion also pushed by income from regional operations, a performance which company chairman, Addington Chinake described as pleasing.

But a recent Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into by the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe which represented the sector’s companies and the Baking and Allied Workers Union settled for a minimum wage increase from 6.9 % to 8.7 % for the months of January to March 2021.

The least paid employee in Grade 1 will be earning a salary of $15 388 while the highest paid employee in Grade 9 will be getting $20 434.

Transport allowances and housing allowances will now stand at an equivalent of U$15.60 and US$18.71, respectively.

“With the Total consumption Poverty Line standing at around $25 000 for an average family of five and considering that we are contributing immensely towards the achievement of the huge profits in the sector. There is an urgent need for workers to fight for fair and just salaries,” added Dzimiri. – Newzim