If you live in Zimbabwe, or even if you just read the news a lot, you know that the prices in the country are currently on the unfriendly side of things. And by unfriendly side of things, I mean high. Really, really high. Even for basics like bread, fuel, and internet data. This is not new information to most of you, obviously, because prices have been steadily rising for a while now. You would think that as the prices quadrupled, the salaries and payrolls would follow suit. Sadly, that’s not the case for many.
I have heard complaints from people whose salaries have been the same for the past 5 years or, at best, gone up by a mere 100 bond/RTGS. Is this at all justifiable? You would have to be one heck of a debater to effectively defend it. Now, don’t get me wrong. We are all aware of the strain that a lot of small private businesses are going through due to the current economic climate. However, if your boss tells you that funds are too low for any pay increases to be made, then surely they shouldn’t have excess money to purchase themselves a brand new personal vehicle. And yet, these are the kinds of stories that we hear on a regular basis.
So, what’s the deal?
Sometimes it seems as if these companies are making a joke of their employees because, surely, they can see that it doesn’t make sense to leave their salary at the same figure it was when the USD to bond rate was still 1:1. And don’t be fooled, your boss is likely nowhere near as clueless about your struggle as they make themselves seem. They are just taking advantage of 3 things:
Firstly, jobs are scarce in Zimbabwe.
Secondly, you are aware that jobs are scarce in Zimbabwe.
And third, the economy is in a bad way.
Essentially, these companies are asking you, “What are you going to do about it?” while making it seem as if they are doing you a favour by employing you at all. Rock, meet Hard Place. It all just seems like a bad joke. It’s almost like that quip made in poor taste at a function. A joke that only a tiny few find funny.
Before things began to go downhill towards the end of last year, there was always this idea of side hustles to buffer and subsidise one’s salary. A lot of people even relied on online work to supplement their income, using their phones or laptops as moneymakers. However, with the new data and Wi-Fi prices being what they are, and salaries staying the same, even online side hustles are a tall order for many, let alone a side hustle that is offline. So, what to do?
Is there a solution?
Common sense dictates that a principle of proportion should apply to how employees are paid. If the prices at their workplace triple, then surely their salary should, at the very least, do the same. Or, if the company is being fair, they should convert the employee’s previous USD salary from when the rate was stated at 1:1 to the same figure multiplied by the current exchange rate. That would be the right thing to do and, because their prices have been increasing in accordance with the current rises, the company wouldn’t be affected negatively anyway. The question is, will they do it? That remains to be seen. A change of heart and mindset, perhaps? Or maybe they’ll finally let the rest of us in on their long-standing joke. I guess if you’re willing to wait some more to find out then you can let us know how that works for you.
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