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Civil servants to march

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Civil servants’ organisations were Thursday mobilising ahead of a planned protest march in Harare today, to force government to the negotiating table.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore said civil servants would go ahead with the march due to government’s refusal to engage them over salaries.

She said government’s negotiating team had not contacted them although Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro on Monday said the team would engage staff associations this week.

Apex Council, which comprises the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Public Service Association (PSA), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe, wrote to Mukonoweshuro last month requesting a meeting to discuss their salaries.

The civil servants’ representatives want the lowest paid worker to earn $500.

Government has, however, been dragging its feet over the matter, resulting in union leaders converging in Harare on Friday last week, where they issued a 30-day ultimatum for government to come to the negotiating table.

They threatened to stage demonstrations which could culminate in a full-fledged strike if government refused to engage them.

“The government side has not been in touch and we are going ahead with our march tomorrow (today),” said Chikowore.

“We are busy mobilising civil servants in Harare and on the education side Zimta provincial executive officers are mobilising teachers. The PSA has also been distributing flyers in government offices and urging civil servants to participate.

“We want the minister to know that silence does not work. We also want to draw his attention to the plight of the civil servants while also drawing public sympathy,” she said. “The minister has been told that we expect him to address the civil servants.”

Chikowore said the civil servants would converge at an open space adjacent to Rotten Row where they would be addressed by their leaders before marching to Kaguvi Building in Fourth Street.

She said the civil servants would return to work after the protest march since they were not yet on industrial action.

Government workers earn between $150 and $250, but want salaries reviewed following the sale of the country’s diamonds.

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