Workers in the agro sector – those who process agricultural produce – have been awarded a 15 percent wage increase.
The National Employment Council for agricultural industry of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr David Madyausiku, said the wage review would see the least paid farm worker in Grade A1 earning $121 up from $105 with effect from November 1, 2018.
He said the wage increase came into effect following negotiations between farmer and workers’ representatives. The highest paid worker in Grade C2 under the agro sector will be paid $239 up from $208.
In a joint statement, NEC, farmers and employees said; “The NEC Agriculture comprising the social parties that is Zimbabwe Agriculture Employers Organisation (ZAEO), Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and agro employer representatives on the employers’ side and General Agriculture and Plantations Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe and Horticulture, General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe on the employees’ side have agreed on wage of agro sector effective 1 November 2018.
“An employer/employees can apply to NEC within 14 days for an exemption or partial exemption/review from paying wages as set up in the above schedule, stating the reasons why that application should be considered.”
Mr Madyausiku said NEC for Agriculture Industry was flexible to exempt an employer if he/she had no capacity to increase wage once the prerequisite details are met.
He said the other agricultural sectors such as horticulture, tea and coffee, kapenta, general agriculture and timber had not received a wage review.
Negotiations for wage reviews for the timber sector, he added, were underway.
“The wages are not uniform across all the agricultural sectors, each negotiates its own conditions of service and wages. So in this instance, the only wage review was done for the agro sector.
“According to Statutory Instrument 221 of 2004, agro industry is defined as an enterprise where there is substantial transformation of an agricultural product for marketing (except timber). This covers companies like Irvine’s which deals with chicken up to packaging and diary forms such Alpha Omega.
“I have an initiative to launch a separate sector for those in the sugarcane industry since they are in general agriculture. All cane growers will soon be classified in their own group. Plans are at advanced stage.”
Mr Madyausiku explained that NEC for Agriculture Industry’s main role was to facilitate dialogue between farmers and workers to avoid wage disputes.
“We also admit farmers and workers into the council. We are planning to amend our constitution so that we take more people on board. We just want harmony in the agriculture sector because this industry feeds many other sector,” he said.
“As NEC we don’t take any sides, neither are we political. NEC is just a referee; we are a neutral body.
“Farming is a business and we are committed to support President Mnangagwa is fulfilling his dream of Vision 2030 of transforming the economy into an upper middle class economy. We fully support all Government initiatives.”