Tourism work­ers de­mand bonuses

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Florence Ncube in Vic­to­ria Falls

EM­PLOY­ERS in the tourism in­dus­try are headed for a col­li­sion course with work­ers over pay­ment of bonuses.

Early this year talks be­tween the two over salary in­cre­ment ended in a stale­mate re­sult­ing in the Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Coun­cil (NEC) for the tourism in­dus­try fail­ing to in­crease salaries for work­ers cit­ing poor per­for­mance.

Only em­ploy­ees in Sec­tor 2 suc­ceeded in get­ting a $3 in­cre­ment in hous­ing al­lowance. Sec­tor 2 in­volves those in the hunt­ing sec­tor.

Work­ers are of the view that the in­dus­try’s for­tunes have trans­formed hence they should be re­warded through pay­ment of bonuses, which they have not re­ceived over the years.

Trade union­ist Mr Ed­ward Dza­pasi said since work­ers didn’t get any salary in­cre­ment this year, a bonus would com­pen­sate for the ‘loss.’

“Our meet­ing early this year yielded noth­ing and we un­der­stood be­cause of the tourism en­vi­ron­ment then. Now things are look­ing bet­ter as we ap­proach the fes­tive sea­son with a num­ber of tourists com­ing in hence we want the em­ployer to con­sider bonuses. We are pre­par­ing for a meet­ing where we want to ta­ble our con­cerns and push for this,” said Mr Dza­pasi, a Vic­to­ria Falls rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Tourism Work­ers Union.

About 90 per­cent of work­ers in the sec­tor are on con­tract with the low­est salary pegged at $200 dol­lars per month with­out other ben­e­fits. Many work­ers sur­vive on tips from clients.

The in­dus­try has been at­tribut­ing low busi­ness to events such as the Ebola out­break, killing of Ce­cil the Lion and de­pre­ci­a­tion of the South African rand.

Em­ploy­ers cite low busi­ness for fail­ure to award an in­crease in salaries this year. Mr Dza­pasi, how­ever, is of a dif­fer­ent view as he al­leged lack of con­sid­er­a­tion by the em­ploy­ers.

“The Govern­ment is pre­par­ing a bonus for civil ser­vants and we won­der why pri­vate com­pa­nies are an ex­cep­tion. All we are ask­ing for is a gra­tu­ity for the hard work we are putting in,” Mr Dza­pasi said.

Em­ploy­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion for Tourism and Sa­fari Op­er­a­tors (EATSO) pres­i­dent Mr Cle­ment Muk­wasi said no one was obliged to pay bonuses.

“Com­pa­nies can pay bonuses if they make profit and have the money. They can as well give them (work­ers) a gra­tu­ity go­ing into the fes­tive sea­son but there is no law com­pelling any­body to pay bonuses,” he said.

Mr Muk­wasi said the pay­ment of a bonus was a mu­tual agree­ment be­tween em­ploy­ees and their em­ploy­ers.

While work­ers claim the in­dus­try has been per­form­ing well, Mr Muk­wasi said some com­pa­nies have closed, down­sized or ap­plied for ex­emp­tion from award­ing salary in­cre­ments be­cause of low busi­ness. - @hur­ri­cane­floe

Tourists visit Vic­to­ria Falls in this file pic­ture

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