The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
THE Government has committed to start paying its workers an increased salary while negotiations under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) are continuing.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has since last month been engaging workers representatives through the NJNC, for a salary adjustment. The Government reportedly made a proposal for a 25 percent pay rise effective this month, and another 50 percent in June.
In a statement, PSC Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said a prolonged economic shutdown period owing to lockdown measures instituted to manage the Covid 19 pandemic had resulted in revenue generation being reduced to virtual insignificance.
He said while Government was faced with various constraints, it remained committed to fulfilling the payment of salaries and benefits to civil servants, including those who were at home during the long periods of national lockdown restrictions.
“While continuing with the crucial negotiations, Government wishes to implement payment of increments from what is immediately available to support its workforce, without prejudice to the negotiating process, which must continue. It needs to be borne in mind in that regard that some civil servants do not belong to any union, and might not wish to forgo the immediate improvement of their emoluments pending the conclusion of negotiations in the NJNC,” said Amb Wutawunashe.
He said as the economy improves with the relaxation of the national lockdown, the Government anticipates more space for further improving conditions of service for its workers.
“Government is committed to the collaborative task of developing a realistic roadmap that will guide deliberations as we move ever closer to the attainment of Vision 2030. Government anticipates that as the economy is opening up, more revenue streams will also open up,” said the PSC Secretary.
However, despite the commitment from Government, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has said that beginning this week, teachers will be working a maximum of three days a week. Zimta acting secretary-general Mr Goodwill Taderera said due to their incapacitation, teachers who fall under their association will now report to work three times a week. Zimta and some bodies under the NJNC reportedly rejected the salary offer from their employer.
The lowest paid civil servant in the country gets a monthly salary of $14 528.
“Having given the employer a conditional and interim opening of schools and 15 days to address teacher incapacitation, we now rescind our promise to be in class beyond Easter holidays. Thus, beginning the 6th of April 2021, our members will have a shorter working week to a maximum of three (3) days per week, that is Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays only,” said Mr Taderera.
The civil servants are demanding an immediate return to the October 2019 salary scales which saw the least paid civil servant earning around US$500.