The National Employment Council for the Agriculture Industry in Zimbabwe (NECAIZ) and agriculture social partners, have agreed a 32.5% wage increment for workers in the agriculture sector backdated to October 1, 2021, Business Times can report.
The social partners there were involved in the bargain process included representatives from the Zimbabwe Agricultural Employers Organisation, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe Farmers Union, Commercial Farmers Union and Zimbabwe Tobacco Association on the employers’ side and the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe and Horticulture, General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe.
This means the lowest paid worker will now pocket about ZWL$6 469.
This is according to a document signed by NECAIZ, seen by Business Times dated 30 October.
“The social parties constituting the NECAIZ, on the employees’ side, have agreed on minimum wages of the general agriculture sector effective 1st October 2021. All employees in the general agriculture sector shall receive a basic wage which is at least 32.5% higher than their basic wage as of 30 September 2021, subject to clause 2.
“No employee in the general agriculture sector shall receive a basic wage that is lower than the minimum wage prescribed for his/her grade’’ read part of the document.
However, the new wages fall far behind the poverty datum line(PDL) , which is estimated at about ZWL$50 000 per month for a family of five, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency data.
The Commercial Farmers’ Union said it has been difficult for farmers to increase wages to match the PDL due to poor commodity prices on the local market, coupled with delays in payments after delivering crops like tobacco.
A series of droughts also made life difficult for farmers while the high cost of inputs and utilities in the absence of working capital affected operations.
As part of the agreement, an establishment or employees may apply to the National Employment Council within 14 days for an exemption or partial exemption or review from paying wages as set out in the schedule, stating the reasons why the application should be considered.