Civil Servants Organising ‘Full-Scale Strike’ Over Salary Erosion

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By Alois Vinga

A CIVIL servants group has notified the government of its intention to engage in a “full-scale strike” owing to a longstanding dispute on eroded salaries.

If it goes ahead, the industrial action will be the worst to confront the current administration.

A petition dated March 9 2021, addressed to Labour Minister Paul Mavima, and signed by the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) president Cecilia Alexander, expressed frustration over the government’s reluctance to tackle the unending dispute.

“Government is willfully disregarding the NJNC (National Joint Negotiation Council) resolution of December 2020 which stated that the NJNC would meet early January 2020 to craft a roadmap towards the restoration of the value of wages to the pre-October 2018 level,” the petition reads in part.

“The ZCPSTU/Apex Council will within seven days from the date this letter, notify the employer of an impending civil service wide job action and that such notification will be served to you in accordance with the laws of the land and in fulfillment of the desires of our members.”

Civil servants are pushing for the government to pay US$500 equivalent salaries which were obtained just before de-dollarisation of the economy in 2018.

Economic policies pursued by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube since he assumed office have adversely affected employers’ earnings.

Even after issuing the directive to trade in foreign currency last year, which in the process has seen basic goods and services being rated against the US$, the government has remained tight-lipped on the status of both civil servants and private workers’ salaries which continue to lag behind far below poverty lines.

The public servants have also accused the employer of not implementing NJNC’s agreed recommendations saying they have been met with silence and empty promises.

The civil servants group said the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is now long overdue and raised concerns that some sectors of the civil service have since been awarded the increment in a discriminatory style.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency recently reported that a family of five now requires $25 000 to meet monthly expenses at a time when most civil servants net salaries are around $18 000.