Matabeleland North Correspondent
THE Apex Council Wednesday agreed to take a government offer of a 133 percent salary increment for the lowest paid worker but said some of its members were incapacitated to execute their duties before the package is effected.
The Apex Council led by Cecilia Alexander is pushing government to pay its workers based on 2018 salaries which were pegged in United States dollars and multiplied by the prevailing interbank rate.
This would have seen the lowest paid worker getting more than RTGS$8 000 per month.
The Apex Council and government negotiators met this week in Victoria Falls on the sidelines of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) workshop for parallel salary negotiations.
A deal was struck on Wednesday where government offered to pay between 133.85 percent and 172.46 percent to its workers depending on one’s grade.
The increment is backdated to January but the top up to the January salaries which have already been paid will be paid in equal installments until end of April.
While both parties had earlier agreed in principle on the increment package, there was disagreement on payment modality as workers’ representatives wanted the top up for January to be paid forthwith while government offered to stagger it over the three months.
A worker who was earning RTGS$1 045 will now take home RTGS$2 500 per month while those who were earning RTGS$1885 will now get RTGS$4 631.
In an interview Alexander said the increase they accepted the pay offer despite it making only 31 percent of that they are pushing for.
“Having taken note of the challenges being faced by our members due to rising cost of living and the state of the economy, we our wisdom we agreed have agreed to sign a provisional agreement as NJNC.
“We agreed to continue negotiating but for now we had to sign for something so that our members at least have buying power as most of them are incapacitated,” she said.
She said the salaries will be reviewed in the first quarter but said they will assess reactions of civil servants which will guide the way forward.
“Our members are really suffering and need some relief. We indicated this to Government last year and nothing has changed as no meaningful increment has been made since then. We urge members who are incapacitated to wait for payment of the increment than to saddle themselves with debt as its not proper for a worker to subsidise the system,” added Alexander.