Mugabe apology not enough — Chikowore

The umbrella union for government employees, the Apex Council, has said President Robert Mugabe’s apology for civil servants’ poor salaries is not enough without measures in place to increase their wages.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Apex Council president, Tendai Chikowore said civil servants acknowledged the apology made by the President, but “it is still not enough”.

Mugabe, in his Independence Day speech, apologised to teachers for the government’s failure to adjust civil servants’ salaries.

He said he was aware that teachers had been patient enough for a meaningful salary review, but the government had not been able to meet its part of the bargain because of poor revenue inflows.

Chikowore said civil servants would continue to engage government over their salary woes.

“We will continue engaging the government until something is done about our salaries,” she said.

“The problem is that on such issues I cannot give a specific date on when exactly we will engage the government because we first have to decide as a council on when it will be done.

“However, we are happy because this apology shows that the government is acknowledging our crisis, but we are interested in seeing what will be done now that the President has apologised.”

The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) recently demanded shares in government firms, saying the ongoing indigenisation drive must cascade down to civil servants.

Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said the union was expecting the Indigenisation ministry to encompass civil servants into their programmes.

Civil servants in February begrudgingly agreed to an increase of $58 in allowances despite their contention it was far from the $288 salary increment they were demanding.

They are demanding the least paid worker’s salary should be in tandem with poverty datum line.

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