Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga yesterday said government cannot meet civil servants’ demands, but will continue engaging them in dialogue to come up with an acceptable increment before the inclusive government principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — intervene.
Matibenga was speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service to update them on the situation within her ministry following the civil servants’ strike that recently paralysed the education sector, in particular.
Civil servants embarked on industrial action last week, but suspended the strike, demanding a minimum wage of $538, in tandem with the poverty datum line (PDL).
Matibenga was speaking as civil servants prepare for further negotiations with the government over salary review today.
Matibenga said there was need to continue dialoguing with the civil servants before they engage the GNU principals.
“We want to work on a recommendation that we can pay something near the PDL because the resource package will not be able to reach the poverty datum line, not because we do not want to pay, but we cannot afford. Civil servants need to take into account the fact that 67% of government expenditure is gobbled up by salaries,” said Matibenga.