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‘Mthuli lying over salary talks’

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The Civil Service Apex Council has accused Finance minister Mthuli Ncube of falsely claiming that government was in salary negotiations with its workers.

Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander yesterday said they were dismayed over government’s reluctance to engage them.

“The Civil Service Apex Council hereby registered dismay at the current absence of dialogue with the employer on the urgent matter of employee welfare in spite of the deepening erosion of income due to inflation,” she said in a statement.

“The dismay is as a result of bad faith on the part of the employer. Although the Minister of Finance has been quoted severally in various media claiming that negotiations are ongoing, the Apex Council would like to categorically state that no talks of any nature are happening.”

Alexander said the worker representatives last met government in April, where both parties agreed to reconvene in two weeks as the government representatives wanted to consult with their principals.

The Apex Council said given the time lapse since the last meeting in April, it was now clear that the government sold the workers a dummy.
“Government should by now have responded to the workers’ substantive demands for United States dollar salaries which we gave as a condition for negotiations to recommence,” Alexander said.

“It is now clear that the employer is wilfully ignoring concerns of its workers, preferring instead to make unilateral pronouncements and piecemeal interventions that do not address the plight of the workers.”

The Apex Council further took note of the unnegotiated 50% salary hike and an increment of US$75 COVID-19 allowances as an admission of the employer’s part that the workers’ welfare needed to be improved, saying this was a realisation by government that the workers should earn US dollars.

Alexander said government must stop neglecting the welfare of its workers and convene an urgent National Joint Negotiating Council meeting as agreed in April this year.
Both Ncube and Public Service minister Paul Mavima could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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