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Govt to Announce Workers’ Package

By Africa Moyo

GOVERNMENT is today expected to make an announcement pertaining to civil servants’ conditions of service following engagements by workers’ representatives with President Mnangagwa recently.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, together with Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube are expected to make a statement.

This is in tandem with Government’s commitment to engage civil servants over their concerns, despite constrained resources.

Already, Government has offered a 40 percent cushioning intervention in the immediate term.

The Herald understands that the cushioning intervention will continue for the next five months as a “more modest amount” while other interventions are being considered.

The approach is consistent with Government’s desire to support the livelihoods of civil servants, with initiatives that go beyond monetary interventions, which may not always be a solution to the challenges faced by workers in an environment where manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers take advantage of any monetary incentives to push up prices for basic goods and services.

Government says it has noted with concern the tendency by businesspeople to increase prices after “any injection of money on the marketplace”, resulting in the adoption of the philosophy of “addressing the pain points for civil servants”.

Some of the pain points include the high cost of transport, to which Government has made significant initiatives to cushion civil servants who commute to and from work, by heavily subsidising the cost of transport through the provision of public service buses at a low cost.

Civil servants pay 70c per trip when going to work, against the up to $3 that private players charge for the same trip.

More Zupco buses will be deployed across the country after they were delivered recently to address transport challenges faced not only by civil servants, but the rest of the population.

As part of that, Government has launched several measures while other interventions are being crafted to address civil servants’ concerns.

Some of the measures include the engagements with the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), which most civil servants subscribe to, which has seen the medical aid society coming through with a concession where in the case of some vital drugs, it would reduce significantly the required top-ups for civil servants.

Government has also announced a housing scheme and a number of civil servants have applied.

Meanwhile, Blessings Chidakwa and Nyasha Mupungu report that civil servants yesterday handed in a petition to Government seeking an increase in their earnings whose value has been affected by inflation.

This is despite a 40 percent salary adjustment from this month — a second within three months — following the $400 million cost of living adjustment package made in April.

The petition was handed over to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

The Civil Service Apex Council and Health Apex Council had both handed the same petition to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander told journalists yesterday that their earnings have lost value particularly since October last year.

“Civil servants are not asking for a salary increment, but rather restoration of the value of their earnings which fell from at least US$475 to a mere (US)$47 currently for the lowest paid civil servant.

“In arriving at the figure for a cost of living adjustment, the interbank rate must apply, benchmarked against pre-October 2018 average US$475 salary for the lowest paid civil servant. This will therefore mean the lowest paid civil service worker should earn $4 750 to restore value of their earnings,” she said.

Source : The Herald

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