By Anna Chibamu and Audience Mutema
GOVERNMENT and its workers particularly teachers could be headed for a clash, following the employer’s announcement that it was awarding all civil servants an RTGS$400 million cost of living adjustment across the board with effect from this month.
The RTGS$400 million according to teachers representatives, translates to about RTGS$120 per government worker, an amount teachers dismissed as meaningless setting the stage for acrimonious negotiations or better still a downing of tools.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a cost of living adjustment for all civil servants, which would allow each worker to take home RTGS$120 per month for the year to cushion them against the ongoing price distortions in the economy.
Ncube told reporters at a press briefing Wednesday, that the RTGS$400 million would be split between the Public Service Commission which is set to get RTGS$281.4 million; Health Services Board (HSB) RTGS$56.8 million and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which will receive RTGS$2.5 million while Grant Added Institutions are earmarked to get RTGS$56.8 million. The country’s independent Commissions will be awarded RTGS$2.6 million according to Ncube.
However in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe warned government to stop taking workers for granted.
“Our reaction is very simple, government is taking us for granted, they are slow in reacting, they are failing to understand the basics that their workers must be motivated to produce better services. “There can never be good service delivery where 95 percent of the workers are disgruntled,” Majongwe said.
“As far as we are concerned, without giving us a 100 percent salary increment, there is nothing that they are talking about, it is just a joke. They are just talking and not tackling our problems.”
Majongwe gave a hint of possible confrontation or withdrawal of labour before the beginning of next term.
“Our members will decide on what action to take. But I can never rule out anything during the second term. These people (government) are not taking their workers seriously. The workers are angry,” said Majongwe.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said government’s offer still leaves workers below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).
“What we are seeing now is an agreement which is tying workers, to a minimum which is below a minimum and therefore what is going to happen now is workers will continue to suffer, and they will continue to earn a sub-normal salary,” said Ndlovu.
Ncubem flanked by Public Service Minister Sekai Nzenza claimed the adjustment would push government workers to the PDL.
A few months ago government awarded civil servants a 10 percent salary increment which was rejected by the workers.
Negotiations to reach an agreement on the salary increments continue with workers demanding nothing less than 100 percent increment.