By Staff Reporter
Employees at Waverley Blankets have taken a stand by initiating a strike to protest against the company’s refusal to adhere to an arbitration ruling.
The ruling stated that all textile employers must raise their workers’ salaries to a minimum of US$184.00 per month.
Throughout the night of Tuesday, Waverley Blankets employees remained locked inside their Graniteside factory, voicing their discontent with a meager weekly net wage of ZWL$30,738.00, equivalent to a monthly salary of ZWL$122,952.00.
As of May 30, 2023, the prevailing RBZ auction rate was USD1: ZWL$2577.05.
The National Employment Council for the Textile Manufacturing Industry issued a circular outlining the payment terms. According to the circular, industry players were obligated to pay 45 percent of the US$184 in foreign currency, with the remaining 55 percent paid in the local currency at the prevailing exchange rate.
The circular stated:
“The wage negotiations deadlock in the Textile Manufacturing Industry has been resolved through voluntary arbitration, as agreed upon by all parties involved.
“As a result, the arbitral tribunal has decreed that the minimum wage be set at US$184.00, with the same percentage differential applying across all grades/levels.
“All companies operating in the Textile Manufacturing Industry are required to pay 45% of the minimum wages in United States Dollars, while the remaining balance of 55% should be paid in the local currency (ZWL) at the prevailing official exchange rate, as determined by the RBZ auction rate.”
Insiders familiar with the situation at Waverley Blankets revealed that the company’s Managing Director had applied to the National Employment Council for the Textile Manufacturing Industry, seeking an exemption from implementing the agreed-upon wages following the arbitration process.
In response, the council issued a letter rejecting the exemption application.
The letter, gleaned by this publication stated:
“We have duly considered your request for exemption and regret to inform you that it has been declined. Therefore, there is no pending application for exemption before the NEC, as it has been turned down or rejected.
“In light of this, the arbitral award remains in effect until a competent court decides otherwise.”
The striking employees have pledged to continue their protest until Waverley Blankets complies with the arbitration outcome and fulfills their demands.