According to the unions, wages linked to the US dollar are the way to protect public sector employees against hyperinflation.
Zimbabwean armed police officers prevented a handful of officials from going to the office of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to present a petition against salaries, decimated by hyperinflation in the southern African country. The demonstrators described their wages as peanuts and demanded a better living wage.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has banned several opposition demonstrations and has been accused of treating demonstrators very harshly. For months now, police have been plying the streets of Harare in an attempt to deter mass demonstrations in the face of the worsening economic situation.
Workers gathered in the capital on Wednesday after a Tuesday meeting between government representatives and the union representing government employees, the Public Service Council at the top, only widened their differences. Workers want the government to index their wages to the US dollar so that, even if the value of the local currency falls, their purchasing power remains constant.
This demonstration concerns our salaries,” he said, “We are in a disastrous economic situation where our salaries can no longer buy anything significant. We have expressed our concerns to the government, but the government has not responded to these concerns.”
Wages, on the other hand, are paid in local currency and have remained largely unchanged. This means that wages have lost up to 95% of their purchasing power. So, if someone earned $1,000 US dollars / bonds before February and still earns the same amount today, they actually only earn the equivalent of $50 a month’s salary.