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Progress In Zimbabwe Labor Negotiations Jeopardized By Price Rises


The latest spate of major price increases for everything from minibus commuter rides to maize meal has raised serious misgivings about the viability of proposed 2007 wage adjustments, according to the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe.

Business leaders and labor officials are concerned they might have to go back to the drawing board. A general minimum wage for workers of Z$100,000 a month (US$400 at the official exchange rate) had been agreed with minor differences by sector.

Though the cost of living is constantly rising, Zimbabwean households were hit with a barrage of major price hikes over the Christmas holidays.

Employers Confederation Executive Director John Mufukari said his organization has been inundated with calls from business managers and labor officials concerned about the impact the runup in prices could have on the continuing negotiations.

Mugakari told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is hard in Zimbabwe's hyperinflationary environment to keep wages and prices in synch. Vice President Lucia Matibenga of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the last round of negotiations had in any case failed to close the wage-price gap.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...