MPs yesterday advised civil servants’ unions to put their house in order saying they were betraying workers through their squabbling over Apex Council leadership positions.
The unions that are part of the Apex Council, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Law Officers’ Association, and the Professional and Technical Officers’ Association, had appeared before the Public Service, Labour and Social Services portfolio committee chaired by Mazowe South MP Margaret Zinyemba to speak on their conditions of service.
Apex Council chairperson David Dzatsunga said there was still bickering over positions in the Apex Council and blamed Public Service Association president Cecilia Alexander for derailing salary negotiations by insisting on being recognised as the genuine leader of the council.
But Zimta chairman Sifiso Ndlovu blamed the current squabbles over the Apex Council leadership on lack of a proper legal framework.
This did not augur well with legislators who ordered them to go back and properly constitute the Apex Council, saying their divisions were making government take advantage of civil servants.
“Government is now taking advantage of your situation because you are pointing guns at each other whilst workers are suffering due to your squabbling, and your salaries as union leaders are adequate,” Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mahlangu (MDC-T) said.
“It becomes easier to negotiate as a united front and can you go back, unite and then stand before government united?” Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) added.
The unions said they were unhappy with the 5,3% salary adjustment that they were awarded last month.
“There was no celebration at all because the 5,3% was not a salary increment because it went to allowances, which allowances are not even enough to meet basic needs of civil servants like housing and transport,” Dzatsunga said.
“We have not had salary adjustments for the past years and it looks like we are not going to have one this year, and this does not have anything to do with the problems at Apex Council.”
Zimta secretary-general Richard Gundani said the 5,3% increment came from a principle which civil servants did not agree to.
“Government was looking at the rate of inflation, but we would like a progressive increment using the principle of the poverty datum line. Government should raise resources to give workers salaries in line with the poverty datum line principle,” Gundani said.