Govt scraps civil servants’ Covid-19 allowances, hikes wages three fold

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By Staff Reporter

GOVERNMENT has effected a three-fold hike on civil servants’ wages in the wake of a crippling strike action by local school teachers who are demanding the restoration of their minimum US$520 wages.

In effecting the increase, government scrapped the US$75 Covid-19 allowance it had offered to its restive workforce and instead, converted it to the much-resented local currency which it enjoined to existing monthly salaries to reflect a nominal increase.

Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe announced the move in a statement Wednesday.

“The Public Service Commission is pleased to advise government workers that the USD75 Covid-19 allowance for September is being paid today (Wednesday).

“Going forward, the USD75 Covid allowance will be paid on pay days.

“This effectively means that the least paid worker (B1) is now earning ZW$11 350.15 while a teacher at entry grade (D1) earns a total of ZW$12 491.15.

“The UDS allowance is indexed to the prevailing RBZ foreign exchange rate,” Wutawunashe said.

He added, “Government is committed to continuously improve the working conditions of civil servants and hopes that negotiations in the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) to further improve emoluments for civil servants will be concluded soon.”

The move to hike wages follows weeks of sustained pressure by government workers, particularly schoolteachers, who are demanding substantial salary increases to match the poverty datum line which, according to latest Zimbabwe Consumer Council estimation, is not pegged at over ZW$20 000.

It is yet to be seen if government employees will embrace the decision.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week invited scorn from teachers he had chided for withdrawing their service in now recurrent wage disputes with their employer.

Mnangagwa declared his government will not bow down to attempted ransom by the educators who have emerged as the most vocal section of the country’s public workforce.

Teachers want their wages paid in US dollars after the economy has, by default, virtually dollarised.

Although Zimbabwean authorities have steadfastly maintained the use of the Zim-dollar, rentals, goods and other services are now charged in hard currency.