By Africa Moyo
GOVERNMENT is understood to be preparing a “meaningful offer” for civil servants as it seeks to address the challenges they face of high prices of goods and services.
The offer is set to be tabled during the next engagement of the National Joint Negotiating Council, which is expected to meet in the near future.
A top Government official close to the negotiations confirmed to The Herald that indeed, a package that should go a long way in cushioning civil servants has been decided.
“Government, taking its cue from its engagements with the Apex Council, is preparing a meaningful offer to address hardships facing civil servants for discussions during the next meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council to be convened soon,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza confirmed that the Government and the Apex Council, which represents civil servants, will resume negotiations soon. But she declined to say the figure that Government would table.
“The negotiations will start soon on civil servants salaries. No figure (has been agreed) yet,” said Dr Nzenza.
Government is keen to improve the welfare of its employees and is frantically working towards that since the start of the year, on the back of a wave of unwarranted increases of prices of goods and services.
On July 18, Government and its workers held a National Joint Negotiating Council meeting, where an agreement was reached to pay a cushioning allowance of $400 to all civil servants to provide relief from the harsh economic environment.
The cushioning allowance was extended as a once-off payment for the month of July, while negotiations continued on a cost of living adjustment (COLA), to further cushion civil servants for the remaining five months of the year.
Government has previously indicated that beyond money, it was keen to offer assistance to civil servants that focused on the “pain points” such as transport by way of a heavily subsidised public transport system.
Government continues to commission more Zupco buses, with the latest batch of 47 now on the road.
Further, Government is working on a housing scheme for civil servants.
A scheme is also being crafted to provide affordable medication for all civil servants.