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Nothing concrete in PM, civil servants meeting

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Nothing substantive came out of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s meeting with civil servants’ representatives to discuss their salary adjustments in Harare yesterday as the Premier did not give concrete promises.

Instead, Tsvangirai reiterated his call for transparency in the mining and sale of Chiadzwa diamonds saying that was the only way government could pay better salaries to its estimated 235 000 employees.

Tsvangirai confirmed he would be visiting the diamond fields tomorrow to get an appreciation of activities taking place there.

But, in separate interviews after the meeting, the Apex Council representatives were optimistic government appreciated their plight.

The Apex Council is the civil servants’ representative body. Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said:

“The issues were to do with outstanding salary adjustments. He (Tsvangirai) is prepared to take it to the taskforce and is going to present this case. The meeting was cordial and effective.”

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said:“We are happy because we were made to hear it from the Prime Minister.

The most important thing is there are things that have to be gotten right and he will engage Finance minister Tendai Biti on the $240 million to find out whether the money is for quarterly, half a year or a year and he said he would meet the ministers responsible with money issues as a matter of urgency.”

Yesterday’s meeting was requested by the Apex Council to brief Tsvangirai about the plight of civil servants. Tsvangirai’s office said after the meeting:

“There was consensus on a number of key principles such as transparency on diamond mining and sales, transforming the negotiating structure and on non-monetary benefits for civil servants.

The resuscitation and strengthening of the social contract and harmonisation of labour laws were some of the principles where consensus was reached at the meeting.”

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