President Robert Mugabe’s promise to double civil servants’ salaries this month appeared to crumble yesterday as it emerged no such arrangement was in place.
Yesterday, the Apex Council met the government’s negotiating team over civil servants’ salaries in Harare, but the team indicated they were still carrying out consultations.
As a result of the breakdown of negotiations, civil servants’ organisations have threatened to strike over unfulfilled promises.
The Apex Council consists of the Public Service Association, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore yesterday confirmed the government had failed to offer them anything, adding the civil servants’ union leaders had pressed the team to act fast “to ensure that there is industrial harmony”.
The militant PTUZ said they were shocked by the government’s stance and were considering industrial action.
“There was no offer from government. The government team gave us a progress update and indicated that they are carrying out consultations but the approval would come from Cabinet,” said Chikowore.
“. . . There was no time frame as to when the consultations would finish, but we impressed upon them that people have been waiting for June and it’s important that they come back to us as soon as possible so that there is industrial harmony.”
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the government had shown that it was not serious about the plight of its workers.
“The government showed it is very arrogant and uncaring,” said Zhou.
“Contrary to what (President) Mugabe had said, that the civil servants’ salaries would be increased in June, it would seem that the government is miles away from meeting that commitment. Firstly, on the salary increment, the government made it clear that there was nothing on offer for civil servants. They failed to even give us a time frame for meeting the commitment. The same applies to non-monetary benefits, such as medical aid, housing and car loans – there was nothing on offer.”
Zhou said it seemed the government wanted to push its workers to a strike, adding that his union was considering the option.
President Mugabe met public service union leaders in April this year and promised to review their salaries in June. The President said the least paid worker would get at least double the $128 they are currently earning.