Salary issues remain an emotive area. Whenever an employer makes adjustments to monthly or weekly earnings, the reactions are as mixed as they are instructive.
When it comes to Government, as the largest employer in the economy, civil servants’ salary adjustments continue to excite many economic actors given the volumes of liquidity moved.
For the economy in general, an upward review of salaries means additional millions being pumped into the economy, with more liquidity and disposable income.
Civil servants on Tuesday started receiving a cushioning allowance, while the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) convened a meeting to discuss an increment and other conditions of service for them.
Already, members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) received salaries adjusted with the cushion allowance, while other members of the civil service are expected to get theirs on their scheduled pay dates.
This dovetails with an assurance by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube recently that civil servants will have an increment with effect from this month, and indeed Government is walking the talk.
Government continues to provide safety nets for its employees at a time when other companies that have been making super profits by overcharging the prices of the goods and services remain mum.
If it were not for Government measures to provide cheap transport, many workers, even those from the private sector, will be unable to commute to work daily and many companies would be in trouble.
The continued adjustment of civil servants salaries brings back dignity to Government workers, some of whom had resorted to spending part of their productive time searching for alternative ways of sustenance.
Although that can be at times difficult to prove, reports abound that besides stealing the employer’s time, there are some workers that have been involved in a number of shenanigans that also cost their employer materially and financially.
There are some workers who spent almost half of their time daily, knocking on other people’s doors, selling some wares ranging from clothing, perfumes, cooked food — the list is endless.
Others were always off sick travelling to neighbouring countries in search of wares for resale at home to supplement their incomes.
It is our hope that with the continued salary adjustments, some of these shenanigans will be a thing of the past and people go back to basics and work full throttle for Government.
The workers should also know that a gradual and sustained salary adjustment will enable the systems to realign themselves and in the process will not provide headaches for national economic managers.
On the other hand we implore members of the business community, mainly retailers to be professional and avoid increasing prices in response to civil servants salaries.
Civil servants salaries is not part of the retailers’ cost structures and we do not understand why they always increase the prices of their commodities when there are salary adjustments.
We would be expecting businesses to take advantage of the demand created by additional disposable income of civil servants for companies to increase their production and benefit from the salary increments by moving huge volumes.
Increasing the prices of existing units on shop shelves in response to salary increments means our businesses do not want to grow, but just maintain the status quo, but much to the disadvantage of the economy in general.
We therefore challenge our captains of industry that they should take the civil servants salaries as an impetus to grow their businesses, move more volumes, earn more money and in turn also award their workers salary increments.
This means Government will earn more revenue in pay as you earn, value added tax as people consume products.
Businesses should develop self-regulatory mechanisms and not be threatened by Government actions or pieces of legislations for them to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. We do not need controls on our market, the prices should be managed by perfect competition where the rules of demand and supply will be at play.
We despise businesspeople who want to make money by increasing the prices of the commodities as a way of boosting their revenue because we believe businesses should make money by moving huge volumes.
Companies that move volumes create more employment and empower many comm
unities through downstream effect and they are assured of sustainable growth. As the civil servants in various grades’ disposable income increases, we believe a number of them will afford products that were beyond their reach.