Growing labour unrest threatens Zim dollar survival

Staff Writer

THE Zimbabwe dollar which was reintroduced by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube almost two years ago is fast reaching a dead end amid demands by workers across the economic sectors for the return of salaries paid in United States dollars.

The past month has seen the Zim$ value declining immensely reaching an all-time high of 1:100 against the United States dollar.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) recently reported that annual inflation had reached a 786 % forcing prices of basic commodities and services to go beyond the reach of many. The statistics agency also reported that in the month of May 2020, a family of five required $8 400 to meet their monthly basic needs.

Finance Minister , Prof. Mthuli Ncube

Currently professionals and, the generality of workers in the country are earning an average of ZWL$ 3 000.

Over the last month, a number of workers have pressed demands for foreign currency salaries.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary general, Tapson Sibanda said their members are not going to accept Zim $ increments.

“This is the time. We are vindicated in our call for government to pay us in US. The market outside has started to price their commodities in US$. We strongly demand that our salaries be paid in US. We will be presenting that demand to government soon after the lockdown through the Apex Council,” he said.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president ,Takavafira Zhou said the hardships had reached alarming levels resulting in incapacitation to attend work.

“We are reaching a point where we cannot afford to turn up of work. Worse still is the realisation that the promises made by government on the payment of US$ have left prices beyond the reach of many and this has further worsened our situation,” he said.

This week employees from the Post Office Savings Bank joined the fray after threatening to down tools nationwide as they complained that the Zim dollar salaries which they are earning cannot sustain them anymore.

They are currently in negotiations with their employer to be awarded salaries in US$ which has become a medium of transaction across the devide.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) has also called on its members to sustain the strike which has spanned for more than fourteen days now.

Against the background market watchers have warned that the current demands signal an end of the Zim $ era.

Local businesses, taking advantage of  Statutory Instrument 85/20 which allowed citizens and businesses to charge goods and services in US dollars as part of combating the spread of coronavirus to turn down  transactions in local currency.

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