NewsSouthern AfricaZimbabwe: Strike averted as civil servants accept salary deal

Thu,24Jul2014

Posted on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 13:43

Zimbabwe: Strike averted as civil servants accept salary deal

By Janet Shoko

Zimbabwe's civil servants have accepted a $54 salary increment offered by the government, averting a potentially crippling strike.


The unions representing the restive government workers had refused a wage increase of $79 last week.

 

it's quite unfortunate that government always has a tendency of arm-twisting us and bulldoze their wishes

Negotiators said they had no choice but to agree to the $54 increment for progress' sake.

The paltry increment would result in the least-paid government employee getting three quarters of the Poverty Datum Line set at $505.

President Robert Mugabe's government had only budgeted $13 million for civil servants' salary increments for 2014.

The new salary structure would also see the government's monthly wage for the over 230 000 civil servants moving from $142 million to $155 million.

The deal has left the civil servants unions fractured as they quickly traded accusations after failing to pin the government down during final wage negotiations.

Civil servants chief negotiator, Richard Gundani who is viewed as too sympathetic to the government said it was a compromise agreement.

"For the purposes of progress we have settled on a Zimstat informed PDL which currently stands at $505. Government had said the PDL stands at $500 while we had used $540," he said.

"The amount is not yet enough. What would be enough is the poverty datum line."

However, militant leader of the Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Raymond Majongwe said his group was retreating to its membership for a way forward.

"We have been forced to accept these figures which are far below our expectation, we signed the deal but we still feel government has not done justice to us," he said.

"There was no collective bargaining to talk about and it's quite unfortunate that government always has a tendency of arm-twisting us and bulldoze their wishes.

"We have always stressed this point and we shall not keep quite."

According to the deal, the lowest paid worker would get $284 as basic salary, $100 transport allowance and $116 housing allowance, bringing the total to $500 from $297.

The pay bracket mostly for teachers who account for 60 percent of the civil service is pegged at $314 basic salary, $100 transport and $116 housing allowance adding to $530 per month from about $448.



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