Govt gets seven day ultimatum

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Last week the Ministry of Education convinced teachers to return to work for the start of the second term with promises their salaries would be reviewed pending negotiations with donors.

In addition, the government promised free education for teachers’ children and undertook to encourage banks to scrap charges on teachers’ salaries while crafting a five year benefit plan for them. The package was agreed outside the normal negotiating forum for civil servants’ salaries, sparking protests that the government was using divide-and-rule tactics.

This provoked the rest of the civil servants whose representatives met in Harare on Friday and gave the cashstrapped government an ultimatum to review their salaries to match what was promised teachers. “We have given the government up to May 15 to resolve the concerns from our members or face a job boycott,” Public Service Association (PSA) deputy executive secretary, Jeremiah Bvirindi said yesterday.

The PSA had earlier accused the government of trying to divide civil servants by giving teachers “special treatment” and ignoring the plight of other workers. “We take great exception in the divide-andrule practice by government where some sectors have decided to flout the rules of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC),” the PSA said in a statement jointly signed by its president, Cecilia Alexander-Khowa and Bvirindi. The PSA is the umbrella body of five public sector unions and represents all civil servants including nonteaching professionals. The unity government has been paying civil servants an alloody of five public sector unions and represents all civil servants including nonteaching professionals. The unity government has been paying civil servants