HomeLocal NewsCivil servants mull action after Biti bombshell

Civil servants mull action after Biti bombshell


The announcement by Finance minister Tendai Biti that civil servants will get no salary increments came as a bombshell to impoverished the government workers who have accused government of being insensitive to their plight and misleading them with false promises.
Civil servants earn an average $150 a month, way below the official poverty datum line pegged at around $500. Biti said on Wednesday that the government had no resources to adjust salaries for civil servants.
Representatives of the civil servants said yesterday that they were particularly irked by what they now say were “lies” by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai when he said on May Day that civil servants’ salaries had not been frozen.
Tendai Chikowore leader of the Apex Council representing civil servants told NewsDay yesterday that civil servants had lost faith in their employer and were considering what action to take.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has taken a more militant stance, threatening to resort to strikes.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the move by government was provocative and his union would not take it lying down.
“We will not allow this nonsense to happen. What l want to promise the government is that if they do not take us seriously, we will strategise as a union and as the entire civil service, and the results of our action could be harmful to the country,” he said.
Chikowore said although the Apex Council was obviously unhappy with the government decision it was better that Biti had been truthful about the salary position. She said it was infuriating to be lied to.
“At least Biti has been honest to us, but we are not happy with the false hope the President and Prime Minister continue to give us. It means they do not take us seriously as workers,” Chikowore said.
When, three months ago, Biti publicly opposed Tsvangirai over civil servants’ salaries, Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro joined in the fray, supporting the Prime Minister while attacking Biti’s “no salary rise for civil servants” stance.
Early this year, civil servants under the Apex Council banner, engaged in protests that saw them downing tools and handing over petitions to Biti, the Speaker of Parliament and Mukonoweshuro.
However nothing materialised from the demonstrations and the job action.

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