Sunday, 27 November 2016

TOURISM WORKERS DEMAND BONUSES

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. Chronicle

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