Zim gov on double standards on prices/salaries (13-07-07)

By Mercy Mujuru
Business Reporter

THE Zimbabwe government e

xpects employers to continue reviewing workers’ salaries upwards despite the ongoing reduction of prices of goods, the chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation,Industry and International Trade Minister, Obert Mpofu has said.

In a statement last night, Mpofu allayed fears that government was mulling to slash salaries by at least 50 percent following the ongoing price blitz which compells all businesses to reduce prices by a similar margin.

The country has been awash with rumours that government intended to slash salaries like it is doing with the prices.

The rumour sent a shiver down the spines of most Zimbabwean workers who are earning far below the Poverty Datuum Line, currently estimated at more than $5,5million.

The country’s major labour grouping, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions threatened to mobilise a mass national strike if government ordered a slash on salaries.

Said Mpofu,”We as the government will not slash salaries. There is nothing like that. Our idea is to give workers a significant disposable income”.

Mpofu said the rumour that government was going to slash salaries was being perpetrated by suspected Zanu Pf detractors.

“It’s being propagated by enemies of the state who do not want to see positive developments by the government. They are just economic saboteurs bent on frustrating the government’s efforts to restore sanity in the business sector,” he said.

The country’s various workers’ unions continue to negotiate for wage and salary increments despite the ongoing price blitz which many argue has not done much in as far as improving worker’s disposable income positions is concerned.

Companies are however worried about the disparities between the salaries and the prices and it is

understood that some businesses have even engaged the taskforce concerning the issue.

“The issue of striking a balance between the two is a contentious one.We engaged them (the taskforce) last week but they said salaries were not their priority at the moment.They told us to continue negotiating through our conventional ways,that is, through the National Economic Consultative Forum.

“But this is unfair.How do you kill the supply side and continue to expect an improvement on the outflows,” said a business executive with a leading private company.

There are fears that there will be massive lay-offs as companies try to strike a balance between escalating production costs and dwindling returns-CAJ News.

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