Paawuz to push for new farm workers wage

HARARE - Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Paawuz) will next year push the farm workers wage from the current $80 to $150 so as to cushion its members.

Paawuz secretary-general Raymond Sixpence told the Daily News yesterday that farm workers remain in the lowest earning bracket.

“We will have to fight even harder to have the minimum wage for farm workers improved; who in today’s Zimbabwe can live on a monthly salary of $80? Apart from the wages we will also work on the allowances, they have to be increased. Farm workers should be treated as such because they drive this economy.”

Sixpence said the year 2018 saw his organisation recovering about 50 percent of what farm workers were being owed by farm owners. “It was not easy to recover the outstanding money from farm owners, most of them politicians. The coming year we will be working on the other half of those who have not honoured. This year we took several of them to the courts and there we got redress, we are happy that at least we fought for the worker.”

Sixpence said as the government plans to downsize the farms, they are calling on authorities to also consider farm workers who already have the knowledge to farm.

“We have experts who can farm productively and we are saying government should also look at them for consideration. They are able and can do it.”

He said one area that his organisation would look at is the payment of termination fees for all the farm workers who lost their jobs when government took over farms from white commercial farmers.

“We hear that the government would like to compensate commercial farmers who lost their farms and we are waiting in the wings because the same white farmers owe farm workers thousands in terminal benefits and outstanding wages, allowances,” said Sixpence.

He urged Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to help in uplifting the lives of farm workers when they conduct their outreach programmes in farms. “They have to help communities in areas of health, education and they have to teach them about their basic human rights.”

With a current membership of 10 000 the Paawuz secretary-general said next year they see the organisation trebling its membership. “We are targeting a nationwide membership of 30 000, so we need to convince 20 000 more farm workers and that is not an easy task. But it is a task we are ready to face.”

He also urged government to seriously consider issuing children of farm workers with national identification cards. “Most of them and even grown-ups do not have national identification cards.

“We are also appealing to government to intervene because Nssa is deducting pension money from every farm worker even those without national identification numbers. It is sad that such workers cannot have access to their contributions since they do not have papers.”

Comments (2)

The minimum wage on my farm is US$330 + Ben. Most of those folks are foreigners with no IDs. Giving children a good foundation is what is schooling , driving license at 16 etc , agri diploma 17+... Downsizing public farms....not private.

Ambuya Juru Farms - 6 January 2019

Surely farm wages have been low for a long time but they shop all goods from the same market with those earning thousands of $. Just imagine RTGS$80 a month in 2019!! Where is AMUYA JURU FARMS?

Henry - 24 March 2019

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