CHIREDZI - Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ) employees’ faces beamed bright ahead of the Heroes’ and Defence Forces’ holiday after their employer granted them an allowance of about 200 percent to cushion them against the rising cost of living.
With about 18 000 workers, THZ is one of the largest single employers in the country, and it has been praised for heeding President Emmerson Mnangagwa's call for employers to cushion their workers in light of the increasing cost of living which has seen salaries getting eroded by inflation.
Employees of the sugar company now earn more than ordinary civil servants, who were, a few weeks ago accorded a $97 cushion each, meaning there was no much difference made.
In a memo, THZ acting CEO and managing director, Aiden Mhere said the company had given its employees what he termed a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLAR) for the month of August.
"In order to further cushion employees from the impact of the ongoing economic challenges, I am pleased to advise that the company has increased the non-pensionable cost of living allowances granted in June 2019 to all current employees with effect from August 01, 2019. The new allowances are being granted at the company's sole discretion on a without prejudice basis," reads the memo.
Mhere also highlights that workers in grades A and B will be cushioned with 196 percent while grade C lower and D2 lower will enjoy a 191 percent allowance. Those in D3 and above bands will get a 175 percent cost of living allowance.
"The basic salaries for all A and B employees which became effective on 01 April 2019 will remain unchanged. The allowance will be paid in accordance with the following:
"(a) the allowance is being granted at the company's sole discretion on a without prejudice basis, (b) The allowance will not become part of the regular basic pay, (c) The allowance will be paid with effect from 01 August 2019, (d) the allowance will be included in the August 2019 pay packages and will be taxable in accordance with existing tax legislation, (e) The allowance will not apply for purposes of calculating pension contributions, overtime or any other allowance," the memo further reads.
Zimbabwe Sugarcane Milling Industry Workers Unions (ZSMIWU) secretary general Faster Gono welcomed the move saying it was a pleasing decision since the company was still studying the union’s paper on proposed wage reviews.
“After we pushed our positional paper, they said they were consulting so we made it clear that it would be better for the company to cushion the workers and then carry on with the consultations. We will be pleased if the company speedily finalises the processes,” said Gono.