Most professionals in Zimbabwe have been reduced to paupers due to the economic meltdown, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said.
This comes at a time when civil servants are threatening an industrial action citing incapacitation, with the lowest-paid government employee earning ZWL$1000.
Speaking to CITE, ZCTU President, Peter Mutasa said the government has distorted the economic and social structure of the country through unplanned policies.
“The illogical and ill-thought-out policies that were put in place now pose serious challenges which will affect us for a long time to come,” said Mutasa.
“Due to the currency distortions, most professionals are earning an average of USD$40. This is just (ZAR600) six hundred South African rands.
“A Zimbabwean Doctor, Nurse, Teacher, Technician, Computer Programmer, Engineer, Bank Teller, an electrician is earning below the South African national minimum wage of 3 500 South African rands.”
Mutasa said the country has started losing a lot of professions causing a brain drain.
“We have started losing a lot of professionals causing serious brain drain. This is going to hamper any illusionary economic recovery the Government has been speaking about.
“It is better for a Zimbabwean doctor, teacher, nurse, bank supervisor and technicians to go and be a scooter driver or forklift operator in South Africa and earn six times what they are earning here. On top of it, have better-equipped schools, hospitals, and other functioning public services,” said ZCTU President.
He added that “poverty has deepened as a majority of the working people are earning far below the poverty datum line, even far below the food poverty line. This is why workers must unite and fight back austerity, corruption and general oppressive practices of the government and capital”.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Community in South Africa spokesperson, Bongani Mazwi Mkhwananzi said domestic workers in that country are earning better than professionals back home.
“It is quite true that some of the domestic workers here in South Africa might be earning more than an average professional in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“According to the national minimum wage act that came into effect in South Africa in 2019, domestic workers earn a minimum wage of R15 per hour which would give them roughly R2 400 a month if they are working 8 hours a day.”
Mkhwananzi added that it is highly likely that most domestic workers in South Africa are trained professionals from Zimbabwe.
“It is highly likely that domestic workers might be a skilled Technician, Teacher, Engineer and other professions you might think of, therefore when you look at their qualifications and training, you might find that if they were in their industries they must be earning much higher salaries,” he said.