Zimbabwe football players poorly paid, ZCTU wades into the dispute

BULAWAYO – Football players in Zimbabwe are being paid slave wages and has led the militant Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) intervening. The Premier Soccer League imposed salary caps on players and the labour union says this is "enslaving football players" and in contravention of labour laws.\r\n

The Premiership has introduced wages ranging from US$100 to US$150, in a bid to weather the storm and ensure that clubs do not collapse. The winning bonuses have also been pegged at US$30 a match.

Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU secretary general said the move by the Premiership to put a lid on wages for football players was in contravention of the International Labour Convention Article 95 on the protection of wages.

“Every worker is entitled to a salary increase, soccer players included. No one, not even government, has the authority to put a lid on salary increments, everyone has a right to Collective Bargaining,” Chibebe said.

The ZCTU said the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) is currently pegged at US$454 and for the Premiership to prescribe the monthly salaries to be between US$100 and US$150 is being unrealistic. “Paying workers anything short of the PDL is tantamount to enslaving them.

“Soccer players are also workers who have families to fend for and are therefore also entitled to earn a living wage,” Chibebe said.

Minimum wages

The labour organization said the global trend is to set minimum wages and not a maximum wage as the PSL has done.

“It would be commendable for the PSL to ensure that players are not exploited by setting a minimum wage of not less than US$400. Experience has taught us that management usually wants to prosper at the expense of the workers. Soccer clubs and the PSL are what they are today because of soccer players and to exploit the same people, who keep the funds rolling in is unthinkable,” Chibebe said.

Chibebe said the Premiership management should get its act together and stop exploiting soccer players. Instead they should work to ensure that the players earn a decent salary. The Premiership management committee decision has been condemned, with some arguing poor remuneration in the Premier League would only succeed in pushing talent elsewhere.

Several top players are ditching the local league taking their talent to minor leagues such as the Botswana and Swaziland Premiership. Some of the players are breaking into the South African league, touted as one of the richest on the continent, while other local players are now playing in Turkey and Cyprus. Africa News