Soldiers on Tuesday received their January payslips and immediately drew daggers on Finance minister Tendai Biti accusing him of not delivering on his promises.
Biti last November presented the 2011 National Budget, which raised the tax-free threshold to $225 and increased the purse for civil service wages by nearly 100% to $1,4 billion.
However Biti last night said the doubling of the employment costs did not necessarily mean a 100% jump in salaries.
“You have to look at the budget statement,” Biti said.
“What doubled was the overall allocation to employment costs which includes pensions. As the Ministry of Finance, we do not do the actual allocations to individuals.”
Although the bulk of civil servants had not yet received their new salary structures, members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were reported to be livid with the increments they got.
Sources last night said soldiers had received salaries ranging from $193 to about $220. This, the sources said, was indicative of the new salary levels for civil servants.
Unconfirmed reports, however, said senior civil servants and members of the uniformed forces would get up to $800.
Tendai Chikowore, chairperson of the Apex Council, said she did not know as yet the salary scale for civil servants but was aware soldiers had received their salaries and were unhappy.
Apex Council represents the Public Service Association, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
“I have not seen the salary structures but so far members of the armed forces have received salaries and they are not happy,” Chikowore told NewsDay on Tuesday night. “It means the salary (increment) is not satisfactory.”
She said the council was meeting government representatives to discuss salaries. Apex wants a minimum of $500 for the lowest paid worker.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said government was yet to announce the increments but his organisation had it on good authority that the revised salaries would range between $185 and $215.
He said housing allowances would be pegged at $45 and transport allowance would also be $45.
“Government is calling for negotiations on Thursday (tomorrow) but we understand the budget has been done already,” said Zhou.
He said teachers would report for duty but would not work unless their grievances were addressed.