Government ignores civil servants: Protests loom

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT workers are mulling industrial action unless President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration finds money to pay them salaries pegged at the interbank rate, the Apex Council said Wednesday.

Apex Council chairperson Thomas Muzondo told jpurnalists at a press briefing in Harare that consultations are already underway to decide on the next course of action after government ignored calls for a National Joint Negotiating Forum (NJNC).

“Having written to government to convene an urgent National Joint Negotiation Committee (NJNC) meeting on or before the 9th October, 2019 and having received no response of any kind from government; having recognised the urgent need for the capacitation of workers given the rapidly deteriorating situation the Apex Council meeting today resolved that all the 14 Apex Council member unions consult with their members on a course of action to be taken.

“A feedback meeting of the Apex Council will be convened on Friday 11 October, 2019 to consolidate the unions’ positions towards a collective action,” Muzondo said.

According to Muzondo civil servants were not demanding a salary increment but only asking for a restoration of their October 1, 2018 salary.

Apex treasurer George Mushipe, said government workers were not worried about figures  but rather a principle as government had the responsibility to provide for its employees.

“Government must make sure that civil servants are able to meet their economic needs in a month’s cycle. There is no better way than we were earning on 1 October 2018 and that an index to the prevailing or current interbank rate, anything else will not adequately address the needs by civil servants,” Mushipe said.

“We want to advise the government that the madness currently obtaining in the business sector be brought to book. How do you justify a price of $120 kg of beef. What I am currently earning is worth 7kg of beef. That is obscene, absurd, we need a holistic approach to the whole thing.”

Civil servants recently got a salary increment of 76% where the lowest paid worker is now earning just above $1000 per month from $582 but according to the unionists the increment has been eroded by inflation running above 500%.