Parliament has dismissed a petition brought forward by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) employees, who sought the House’s intervention over low pay, stating that the labour court should address their grievances.

The workers had written to Parliament, requesting that the House look into their incapacitation and ensure adequate resources are allocated to ZIMRA.

Through their union, the Zimbabwe Revenue and Allied Workers Trade Union (ZIMRATU), the workers noted that they were forced to borrow and work side jobs to survive as their salaries were eroded.

However, last week, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the petition from the ZIMRA workers had not been granted because their concerns were a labour issue and could be resolved in court.

“I also have to inform the House that Parliament received a petition from Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) workers beseeching Parliament to investigate the causes of the workers’ incapacitation, provide guidance on the matter, and ensure that adequate resources are allocated to ZIMRA through the enforcement of the previous Parliament recommendations on the ZIMRA Funding Model,” Mudenda said.

“The petition was deemed inadmissible as the issues raised in the petition are labour issues which can be resolved in a court of law. The petitioners have since been advised accordingly.”

ZIMRATU cited their inability to meet basic needs like shelter, transport, food, and school fees.

“It is disheartening that the salary of a ZIMRA worker can no longer afford basic food items due to inflationary pressures and the continuous dollarisation of the economy,” said the letter signed by ZIMRATU president Dominic Manyangadze.

The workers also cited that ZIMRA management was refusing to engage with them regarding their salaries.

“Medical services are now accessible in US dollars, while the cost of living has significantly increased due to drought, exchange rate fluctuations, and inflationary pressures,” the letter stated.

The union added that despite the challenging working conditions, workers at the tax collector continued to perform their duties as expected while all non-managerial workers were now reliant on borrowing to supplement their eroded wages.

“There are significant price increases on basic commodities, school fees, health expenses, and communication, among other costs,” the letter further read.

“The ZIMRA workers have continued to perform exceptionally well even in the face of very difficult working and economic conditions but are now having to supplement their incomes from side hustles.”

In 2019, ZIMRA appealed to the Labour Court after it was ordered to increase the salaries of its employees by 25 percent, backdated to January 1, 2018.

ZIMRA appealed under case number LC/H/29/19 after ZIMRATU dragged the tax collector to the Labour Court demanding a 30 percent salary readjustment, a 36 percent salary adjustment for the period January to December 2018, and an additional one-room housing allowance.

The tax collector instead offered its employees five percent for the period January to June 2018 based on the December 2017 salary (basic) with no incremental effect, and 15 percent for July to December 2018 based on the December 2018 basic salary without the additional one-room housing allowance.