BY FARAI MATIASHE/BRENNA MATENDERE
GOVERNMENT has awarded a 76% salary hike to its restive workers, a move which will see the lowest paid civil servant getting around $1 000 per month, but civil servants’ representative body, the Apex Council, yesterday described the increase as a drop in the ocean, given the rate of inflation in the country.
The increase comes after most civil servants had notified their employer of their incapacity to continue reporting for duty, with others threatening industrial action over the high cost of living.
In a statement, the Apex Council said the salary adjustment fell far short of their expectations of $4 750 (US$475) for the least paid worker.
“Following the rejection of a 10% government offer by the Apex Council, the National Joint Negotiating Council meeting convened today (August 23, 2019) saw government move their offer to 76% of the total package with effective from August 1, 2019,” part of the statement co-signed by Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander and vice-chairperson, Thomas Muzondo, read.
“The offer does not meet the stated position of the workers, which is pegged at $4 750 for the least paid civil servant. According to this development, the lowest paid worker is expected to take home $1 023 from
Apex Council leaders said they would soon consult their members again and update government of the outcome at their next meeting on Wednesday.
Earlier, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou had poured cold water on the government’s salary offer.
“Why has the government and Apex Council been quiet for all along? Government and Apex Council claim to be talking when civil servants threaten to go on strike. We certainly do not eat empty promises. The government
already claims that a hefty salary is on its way, but we are aware that this is a tissue of misrepresentation,” he said.
“Let the teachers measure the deftness of the salary rather than the self-appraisal of a starvation salary being labelled hefty by an uncaring employer.”
“At any rate, the government is well known for peddling falsehoods. They promised duty-free cars to civil servants last year, but up to now, not even a single teacher has accessed that facility. The government has
failed to provide stands for teachers’ accommodation purposes, let alone to exempt three children for every teacher from paying tuition fees,” Zhou said.
This comes as staff at State universities have declared that they are financially incapacitated to continue reporting for duty following the erosion of their salaries by inflation.
Zimbabwe State Universities’ Union of Academics president Alois Muzvuwe on Thursday gave notice that from September 8, their members would stop going to work until government reviewed their salaries.
“This decision comes after realising that efforts to seek redress on State universities have not yielded the desired outcome. The Higher Education ministry has failed to provide answers or solutions to low standards
of living and hardships that are being experienced by State universities teaching staff,” Muzvuwe said in a statement.
This came after Midlands State University (MSU) staff on Wednesday registered the same concerns with their administration.
In a memorandum to vice-chancellor Victor Muzvidziwa, the MSU Lecturers’ Association said their salaries had dropped 10 times, adding they were now only able to report for duty on the first three days of the month.
MSU spokesperson Mirirai Mawere yesterday told NewsDay Weekender that the university management was now seized with the matter.
“We acknowledge receipt of the memorandum and we wish to assure our valued stakeholders that the university is seized with this matter. We are pursuing internal strategies to ensure that our students continue to learn and are not inconvenienced in any way,” she said.