Harare — Farm workers and employers have agreed on a salary increment of 4.2 percent or $3 for 2017, which will see the lowest earner being paid $75 per month effective this month.
According to a collective bargaining agreement signed last Friday between the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) and farmer organisations, the minimum wage for farm workers has been increased from $72 to $75, with the highest paid worker now earning $150.
In South Africa, the lowest paid farm workers earn about $230 per month.
The farmer organisations that agreed to the new wages are the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe Farmers Union, Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe Tobacco Association and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Employers Organisation.
“All amounts have been rounded off to the nearest dollar. Employers can apply to the National Employment Council within 14 days for an exemption or partial exemption from paying wages as set up in the above schedule, stating the reasons why that application should be considered,” reads the agreement in part.
The document was signed by a D.H Chimbwanda representing employers, F Zondo representing employees and Simon Jera representing the NEC.
“We still need more to be done. It’s still little but half bread is better than nothing. Employers are lamenting economic challenges,” he said.
Agriculture provides nearly 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s formal employment, according to the World Bank.
“This is unheard of. It’s not a living wage but black monopoly capitalism. The least employed worker must get $100 or more,” Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary, Raymond Sixpence told The Source.
The wages are still far below the poverty datum line, estimated at almost $600.
“It’s not the best deal as the employees were expecting more; but we had to accommodate each other. Employers are struggling to make money in the farming sector which is negatively affected by high operating costs, so the four percent will cushion workers to survive in the meantime,” said Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Wonder Chabikwa.