Civil servants, govt seal salary deal

BY OBEY MANAYITI

CIVIL servants yesterday agreed to a salary increase of between 25% and 29% as part of a $400 million cost of living adjustment, officials said yesterday after months of haggling.

Under the deal, a civil servant earning $441 will now be paid $570, while those currently getting $519 will now be earning $649. Initially, the civil servants were demanding a minimum salary of $1 700 and later demanded $3 000 when the government devalued the local currency in the form of the real time gross settlement dollars and bond notes.

The Apex Council met government yesterday at a Joint Negotiating Council, where the deal was signed. While representing a significant rise from the $160 million offered by government at the initial stage of negotiations a few months ago, the new offer does not translate to a significant increase individually.

In a statement signed by both the Apex Council leader Cecilia Alexander and a government representative, Simon Masanga, the two parties said the package will be reviewed in June.

“Government has agreed that a cost of living adjustment of $400 million be effected across the board for all members of the public service with effect from April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019,” the statement read.

Government said the $400 million package would immediately cushion its employees amid the continued rise in the cost of living.

During the negotiations, civil servants were divided on the way forward with others advocating for a strike while others fiercely opposed it, fearing that it would be hijacked by politicians in the aftermath of the January 14-16 anti-government protests.

At the end, teachers agreed to go it alone.

The strike lasted for a few days before it was called off to allow room for negotiations. Government, however, went on to punish the striking teachers.

The agreement would continue and sector-specific allowances and other non-monetary incentives will also be considered.

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