Despite the difficult political, economic, and social situation in Zimbabwe, the BWI affiliate Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers’ Union (ZCATWU), continues to engage employers and defend workers’ rights.
The union engaged Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) a Chinese company constructing the new Parliament of Zimbabwe on issues of compliance with Zimbabwe Construction Industry Salary Regulation. Since January 2018, the SCG was underpaying workers. The workers’ hourly salary rate was between $1.63 and $1.70 instead of the recognized minimum wage of $2.81 per hour.
The current social context is not favourable to trade unions demands in Zimbabwe but ZCATWU made efforts in addressing the matter to the SCG and the government with the objective to find an amicable solution for thirty-two (32) workers. Due to the constant pressure from ZCATWU and its members, on 29 August 2019 the SCG paid the union $32,925 USD which was the amount that was the gap between wages paid to workers and the minimum wage applicable in the construction industry. ZCATWU is now disbursing these funds to all the workers who were underpaid.
Crecentia Mofokeng, Regional Representative of Africa and the Middle East congratulated ZCATWU for this achievement and encouraged all construction unions in the region to continue to fight for workers. She stated, “Let us mobilize and fight against bad practices and exploitation of our members in all multinational companies including Chinese companies. We must not compromise workers’ rights in the name of any kind of bilateral government cooperation.”