By Idah Mhetu
CIVIL servants are set to meet Public Service Minister Paul Mavima for a crunch meeting over salaries as government employees say they are no longer able to report for work due to incapacitation.
Unions affiliated to the APEX Council, the main negotiating arm for civil servants, met Tuesday in Harare ahead of the Friday meeting.
APEX Council vice secretary Gibson Mushangu said after the meeting that they noted government had not shifted its position concerning civil servants’ salaries and Friday’s meeting will be a “make-or-break” one on whether they will continue reporting for work or not.
“This is a make-or-break; what the government is going to offer on Friday is going to decide the fate for the rest of the civil servants as we approach schools opening,” said Mushangu.
“Government has invited us to a meeting on Friday. That is where we are going to get the feedback from the government on the issues we have raised.”
Apex Council also declared full incapacitation and that the civil servants can no longer afford to report for duty as government has since refused to give in to their demands for United States dollar-bench-marked salaries.
The meeting comes at a time prominent teachers unions have declared their members would not report for duty when schools open for the first term next week.
“Government has not shifted its goal posts and we are no longer able to report to work considering that schools are opening on Tuesday.
“As Apex Council, we have also resolved that we are going to declare a further deterioration to the government on our working conditions and on our capacitation,” he added.
Government workers want their salaries increased to the equivalent of what they used to earn during the US-dollar era, or they want their salaries pegged at the prevailing interbank rate to hedge against inflation.
“We are not going to change our position. Our demands remain the same; that let our salaries be pegged on the interbank rate so that we will be cushioned against this hyper-inflationary environment where prices of basic commodities and fuel are increasing on a daily basis, yet our salaries are still stagnant and moving at a very slow pace of which it is quite a deplorable move and we do not accept that,” he said.
Government insists it has no money to meet the demands by its workforce.
A recent four-month long strike by junior doctors in the country’s major hospitals has ended with government refusing to give in to the medical staff’s demands.