D-Day for govt, civil servants

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Zimbabwe’s restive civil servants are keeping their cards close to the chest as the deadline for their one-week ultimatum for government to review their salaries beckons.

Last week, civil servants’ representative body, the Apex Council, gave the government until today to address their grievances or face a crippling strike.

This was after Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga reportedly came to the negotiating table empty-handed and later asked for a grace period to consult her Cabinet colleagues and principals in the coalition government.

Civil servants are demanding their salaries be moved from the current minimum of $253 to $538 per month in line with the poverty datum line.

Apex council chairperson Tendai Chikowore told NewsDay yesterday they had not received any feedback from Matibenga since their meeting last week.

“We gave the Public Services minister up until tomorrow (today) to give us the feedback we need,” she said.

“Our plans on the strike have not changed. They are still as we had arranged them last week.” Chikowore last week mobilised all civil servants’ unions in Zimbabwe to join in the strike which would begin on Thursday if they failed to reach common ground with their employer.

“Every civil servants’ union should join in the strike if these demands are not met,” she said.

“If there is a union that chooses to do the opposite, this would be greatly disappointing, but it would be their own choice.” Matibenga declined to speak about the issue.

“I am not willing to discuss this issue with the media,” she said before hanging up on her mobile phone.

The government has repeatedly claimed it does not have enough money to award a salary increase to its estimated 235 000 employees.