By Alois Vinga
GOVERNMENT has maintained its earlier position it could not meet salary demands by civil servants insisting it could only award increments within its resource limits.
Last month, Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) president Cecilia Alexander, expressed frustration over government’s reluctance to tackle the unending dispute it has with its restive workforce. She gave notice to commence a full-scale strike.
The labour group is demanding an immediate return to the October 2019 salary scales which saw the least paid civil servant earning around US$500, up from the current US$160 equivalent.
But a Friday update released by the Public Service Commission’s secretary, Jonathan Wutawunashe doused any lingering hopes by civil servants they will ever receive the wage increases.
“While continuing with the crucial negotiations, we wish to implement payments of increments from what is immediately available to support its workforce, without prejudice to the negotiation process, which must continue,” said Wutawunashe.
He said the prolonged economic shutdown period in the country owing to government’s Covid-19 lockdown measures have been major barriers to meeting the current demands.
Wutawunashe hinted that government’s commitment in paying salaries should not be underestimated bearing in mind that even during the lockdown period, civil servants received their wages despite being at home.
Despite unions having rejected the 25 % increment offer, the government vowed to go ahead with disbursement of the increments arguing that not everyone was unionised.
“It needs to be borne in mind that some civil servants do not belong to any union and might not wish to forgo the immediate improvement of their emoluments pending the conclusion of their negotiations in NJNC,” said Wutawunashe.
The senior civil servant said government remained committed to the collaborative task of developing a realistic roadmap to guide deliberations as the nation draws closer to the attainment of Vision 2030.
“As the economy improves, the government anticipates more space for further improving conditions of service for its workers,” he added.