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Newsday

FARM workers have frowned at the paltry wage increment approved by some unions in the agricultural sector that will see most of them getting $6 400 (US$30) per month at a time when the family monthly basket has risen to $40 000.

The increment was agreed to by other unions, but the Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers Union of Zimbabwe (PAAWUZ) yesterday rejected the offer, saying it was an insult to the sector.

PAAWUZ interim general-secretary Philip Mafundu described the “paltry” increment as a mockery, and imperial capitalism.

“We reject the paltry salary increment signed by other unions for the agricultural industry, the general agriculture and horticulture sectors,” he said.

“Six thousand and four hundred dollars only for a family of someone doing essential service is pathetic. Agricultural workers never stopped working during this (COVID-19) pandemic. They have endured so much to ensure that the nation is fed. They are now mocking them. Agricultural workers should stand up, unite and fight for their rights.”

Farm workers also appealed to government, which spearheads the command agriculture programme to bear in mind that farm workers are human beings.

“We are not animals that are, in fact, being treated better than farm workers. There will be no Christmas to celebrate for the farm workers this year, with the food basket now well above $40 000. How is one supposed to survive on $6 400 monthly?”

PAAWUZ accused other unions in the agricultural sector of selling out.

“There are unions that have misrepresented the interests of the workers. The agreement does not show the side of the worker, and it is up to the worker to stand up and say we never agreed to that, that’s a misrepresentation.”

PAAWUZ is pushing for a US$80 minimum wage for the least paid as per the June 2018 schedule.

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