Civil servants salary standoff continues

Government meets civil servants on Wednesday to resume salary negotiations following the rejection last week of a meagre increment offered to workers.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore confirmed the development on Tuesday, but said she was not confident the talks would yield positive results.

The Apex Council is composed of the Public Service Association, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.

Civil servants last week got a paltry salary increment of 24% while housing and transport allowances were increased by between $6 and $9, bringing the salary of the lowest paid teacher to $241, inclusive of allowances.

They rejected the increment and gave the government a seven-day ultimatum to come up with new figures.

“We are starting negotiations tomorrow. We are waiting for the government offer so that we can see if the offer warrants negotiations,” Chikowore said.

“In the meantime, we are calling on civil servants to hold on (not to go on strike) until the negotiations finish. I know the seven-day ultimatum has lapsed, but negotiations are starting tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Zimta secretary-general Richard Gundani confirmed the development and said the government was responding to a request from the unions to further consult following the rejection of the salary offer.

“We hope the negotiations will yield something for civil servants who have suffered for a long time,” he said.
The unions are demanding $502 as the starting salary for the lowest paid worker.

When they rejected the government offer last week, civil servants argued that the employer did not take into consideration the position paper presented by the workers and that the issue of transport and housing allowances was not adequately addressed.

They also said there was no attempt by the government to resuscitate the rural allowance and other none monetary benefits.

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