Civil servants strike looms


A civil servants’ strike is looming tomorrow following expiry of the Apex Council’s ultimatum for government to address their salary and working conditions concerns.

Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga met the workers’ representatives last week and asked for a grace period to consult the inclusive government principals before reverting to the representative body today.

Though the government is reportedly willing to meet civil servants’ unions, it is unlikely to meet their minimum wage demands of $538.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore confirmed the strike would go ahead tomorrow unless Matibenga gives them a “satisfactory response” on the outcome of her meeting with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara regarding their grievances.

Apex brings together the Public Service Association, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou indicated teachers would join the strike, but noted a one-day stoppage was not enough to bring about change.

Last week, the opening of schools looked uncertain following threats by PTUZ that their members would resort to industrial action, to press for better salaries.

While Chikowore, who is also Zimta president, said they would be mobilising their members for the strike while waiting for government’s response, Zhou was sceptical.

“Minister Matibenga has no power to deal with this issue. What we need is direct confrontation with (President) Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the two most powerful people in government,” Zhou said.