THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has predicted a bleak Christmas for most Zimbabweans as prices of basic commodities sored to unprecedented levels at the weekend.
Food prices shot up in the last few days, with bread, meat, cooking oil and other basics priced beyond the reach of many in an economy where jobs are scarce and liquidity has been a challenge over the last few months.
In a statement issued Tuesday, ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo described the increases as shocking, noting they had eroded the meagre earnings of workers, who he said should immediately get a 50 percent upward review of wages and salaries across the board to compensate for the increases in basic commodities.
"Labour notes that most workers earn an average $300 a month and therefore cannot afford to buy the goods in most shops and they will have a very sad festive season. Of concern, also, is the fact that some unscrupulous retailers are using a three-tier pricing system to swindle consumers," Moyo said.
He said there were now different prices for those using the United States Dollar, those using the bond and those using plastic money.
"In most cases those who use the electronic transfers are made to pay through the nose. The ZCTU therefore urges the government to immediately find ways and means of curtailing the current price madness and save Zimbabweans from predators who masquerade as business people," he said.
Moyo said government should address the root causes of then current economic crisis and not offer piecemeal solutions which he said would further cost the country in the long run.
"The government must come up with meaningful solutions to the crisis we are facing. Stop-gap measures have been employed before, yet people continued to suffer.
"Labour is saying that it is high time we stop running the country on stop-gap measures and on the basis of piecemeal political projects."
Cash shortages have persisted in the country with long queues still the order of the day. The USD has continued to be traded on the black market where most businesses claim they are getting the forex for the importation of goods and raw materials as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe struggles to supply them.