Confusion over civil servants’ salaries resurfaced Wednesday as the government announced negotiations were still in progress while the Apex Council and National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) insisted an agreement had been reached.
Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said the government had not awarded its workers a salary increment saying the figures announced by the Apex Council on Friday were merely proposals which could be rejected by Cabinet.
Mukonoweshuro said as far as the government was concerned, negotiations had not run their full course and it was wrong to announce figures.
“I am informed that there was progress made in the negotiations . . . The minister will take the recommendations to Cabinet. Cabinet will deliberate on the recommendations and only after that, will Cabinet or the government make an announcement,” he said.
“It’s not up to Apex Council to make an announcement and it’s not up to the minister either. I can only make the announcement with Cabinet approval, and an announcement will be made when the process is cleared.”
However, Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore sang a different tune: “As far as we are concerned, we are done. The chairperson was there and we had a full complement from government. The agreement was signed.”
The Apex Council is composed of civil service unions, namely the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Public Service Association, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
NJNC chairperson Dr Nelson Sambureni also confirmed an agreement had been reached.
“We negotiated and agreed and the agreement was signed. I’m not aware of any negotiations that are still taking place,” he said.
“Once we agree and sign, I write to the minister informing him and I have already done that.”
He further said the government had made an undertaking to periodically review civil servants’ salaries and would honour the commitment.
The figures announced by the Apex Council had seen the lowest-earning civil servant, an office orderly, getting a take-home salary of $253, up from $186.
It remains a mystery where the funds for the increment would be pooled from.