CIVIL servants have given in to the government’s offer of a $54 salary rise which will see the lowest paid employee earning around $375 per month.
According to the negotiators, the increment was a far cry from their efforts to achieve a poverty datum line (PDL) wage of $505 as pegged by Zimstats. They said they had no choice, but to agree to the $54 increment for progress’ sake.
Government is said to have set aside $13 million for civil servants’ salary increments for 2014 and the workers’ representatives said they were now basing their hopes on the mid-term budget review that could give them another lifeline towards achieving a PDL-linked wage.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said the $54 increment will see the salary bill increasing from the previous $142 million to $155 million per month.
“The salary bill will move by $13 million and it means the lowest paid civil servant will now get $375 inclusive of transport and housing allowances,” said Ndlovu.
“This is not the best increment they could give us, but it opens a new chapter so that we move forward and see what should be the next stage, for example, looking at other modalities of non monetary incentives like housing stands at affordable monthly rates.”
Ndlovu said the National Joint Negotiation Council (NJNC) also agreed that $3 million would be set aside to take into cognisance increases of salaries of some civil servants who had achieved senior levels and higher educational qualifications.
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said they were unhappy with the increment, adding they had to compromise in order to reach an agreement with government.
“That amount is far from adequate and cannot do anything to improve our situation. However, government said it was committed to reviewing the salaries again after six months. We were left with no choice except to agree, especially after government promised other non-monetary incentives like housing stands which it said were going to be funded by a NSSA funding scheme,” said Nyawo.
He, however, said government did not disclose how much was earmarked for the housing stands scheme to help solve accommodation problems civil servants were facing.
“In future, I hope government will use other PDL scales other than Zimstats so that we come up with an agreed position,” he said.
Nyawo also warned the MDC-T and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions against meddling into civil servants’ issues saying it was politicising workers’ unions.
“The MDC-T and ZCTU want to politicise the negotiation process by inviting the Apex council to discussions with them. If we were to engage with them government would take us (Apex) as people with a political agenda. They must leave us to tackle our salary issues alone,” said Nyawo.