Construction firms, workers clash

HARARE - Construction firms are on a collision course with workers, who are threatening to strike and take legal action over a wage hike.

The workers accuse the employers of reneging on an agreement reached in March this year to increase salaries by three percent.

On March 27, the Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trades Workers Union (ZCATWU) — representing workers, the Labour ministry and employers’ representatives resolved to increase salaries.

According to the resolution, signed by the three parties, employers offered the three percent hike as a basis for further negotiations after ZCATWU had demanded a five percent increase.

However, three months later, the three percent increase is yet to be effected, with employees growing weary.

This has seen ZCATWU’s legal counsel, Lovemore Madhuku, writing to the construction industry’s National Employment Council (NEC) — a body that negotiates conditions of service and salaries for the sector — to compel the employers to effect the pay hike.

“I write to advise that it is my considered view that the agreement signed by the parties on March 27, 2018 is a legally binding contract.  The employers have to increase salaries by a minimum of three percent.

“The further negotiations contemplated by the parties only relate to whether or not the employers may improve on the three percent position,” Madhuku said in a May 14, 2018 letter.

“It is the responsibility of NEC, as a separate legal persona, to ensure that the employer party abides by agreements voluntarily entered into under its auspices.

“My client belies that with the assistance of the NEC, the employers will abide by the agreement of March 27,  2018. If the employers breach the agreement, I have strict instructions to institute appropriate legal proceeding to enforce the aforementioned agreement.”

On the other hand, ZCATWU has also written to employers to notify them that they will be taking to the streets to vent their frustration over the lack of implementation of the March 27 agreement.

“We would like to bring to your attention that since 2015 the union has been engaging the employers for wages negotiations. It has now become abundantly clear that the employers are not taking seriously the matter of increasing wages,” wrote the Union’s general secretary, Muchapiwa Mazarura

“ZCATWU is therefore organising for a national strike over wages for all workers in the construction sector.  Please be advised that the day for the strike action will be advised in due course.”

Mazarura said even big construction companies were defaulting.

    Post a comment

    Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
    Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
    - Editor

    Your email address will not be shared.