NEWUZ threatens Zim power blackout

The National Energy Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Newuz) has threatened to embark on a nationwide job action that would plunge Zimbabwe into total darkness, if workers salaries are cut as directed by government.

NEWUZ Secretary General, Thomas Masvingwe, told journalists in Harare today that there would be a devastating job action if workers’ salaries are unlawfully slashed under the guise of capping what chief executive officers earned.

“Salaries of our members are due by way of a constitutional and lawful process of collective bargaining, and the Union shall not accept any interference in any way with salaries obtaining in the industry,” Masvingwe said.

Masvingwe said in the event that the Ministry of Energy gets its way and the salaries get slashed, the Union would rise to the occasion and take legal remedial action including withdrawal of labour.

He warned that the job action would be horrendous to contemplate as it will culminate into ‘total darkness’.

Government was discouraged from salvaging money from the working poor, but address core issues to do with economic revival in order to create employment and widen the tax base.

The Union called on the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to implement in full the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement SI 50 of 2012.

The outcome of the bargaining if implemented would result in the lowest paid worker earning a salary above the Poverty Datum Line pegged at $543, 00. NEWUZ warned ZESA that if the agreement is not honoured, workers would also seek appropriate remedies.

Masvingwe said chances were high that salaries in the energy sector would be slashed, since expectations were that the CEOs salary cuts would cascade down to the last worker.

A letter dated April 1, 2014 and signed by the Secretary for Energy and Power Development, Partson Mbiriri, indicated that state enterprises whose lowest wages were below the PDL may only be raised depending on the organisation’s capacity to pay.

Annual bonuses would be based on performance not as an automatic entitlement like in the past. Cabinet capped CEOs’ salaries at $6, 000 as an interim measure to tame obscene earnings at the parastatals and state enterprises.

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