Civil servants threaten strike

CIVIL servants have threatened to go on a nationwide strike to force government to address a raft of grievances to do with their working conditions.

PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
SENIOR REPORTER

Apex Council team leader Richard Gundane — who is also Zimbabwe Teachers Union (Zimta) national president — said the date for the industrial action will be announced in due course.

Gundane in a statement released over the weekend, said the decision followed government’s failure to address issues surrounding payment of outstanding 2014 bonuses, unilateral shifting of pay dates, late submission of union dues, lack of action on non-monetary benefits, delayed establishment of the Public Service Collective Bargaining Council and the 2015 position paper on salaries and conditions of service for government workers.

The decision to embark on the industrial action was made following a two–day meeting of the Apex Council in Harare last Friday.
“The Apex Council, as fully constituted, met yesterday the 8th of January 2015 and seriously considered to embark on a nationwide strike on a date yet to be announced, to demand dialogue and press for government to immediately act on the following issues,” Gundane said.

He said this was “a purely labour position” meant to deal with labour issues and should not be interpreted otherwise.

He said civil servants had a right to be heard through the collective bargaining council and implored Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira to regularly convene feedback meetings saying “the shadow boxing going on was creating a fertile ground for industrial action”.

“Finally, we warn the government that the growing anxiety and despondency in the rank and file of teachers may lead to strikes as a direct result of the lack of dialogue,” he said.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe, who attended the meeting, said there was no consensus over how long the strike would take.

“We, however, did not agree on the duration of the strike. We wanted a longer period but we did not get the support of many of the members. The modus operandi, the duration and modalities of the strike will be announced in due course,” Majongwe said.

He urged all civil servants including those in essential services to join the industrial action. Majongwe said another meeting to finalise the modalities of the strike has been scheduled for Wednesday this week.

The resolution to go on strike came hard on the heels of threats by medical doctors who recently warned that they would soon join nurses who were already on go–slow.

Mupfumira could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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