By Anna Chibamu
FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube says government will offer civil servants a reasonable salary increase, but warned the public workers’ demands will not be fully met to avoid an inflationary environment.
Unions affiliated to the Apex Council, the main negotiating arm for civil servants, are set to meet the Minister of Public Service Paul Mavima Friday over salary adjustments as the government employees say they are now incapacitated and cannot report for work due to low salaries.
“This is a make-or-break meeting; what the government is going to offer on Friday is going to decide the fate for the rest of the civil servants as we approach schools opening,” Apex Council vice secretary, Gibson Mashangu said Tuesday during a meeting by the unions.
However, in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com Thursday, Ncube said the Friday meeting between the Apex Council and Mavima would bring a positive outcome.
“I expect a very positive outcome from the negotiations that are currently taking place between civil servants and government. I am sure we will a have positive outcome so that we can continue to improve the wages for civil servants,” said Ncube.
The minister expressed gratitude over the service offered by government employees and promised his ministry would do everything in its power to improve their welfare.
“We appreciate the work that they do; teachers, nurses and everyone else are all important to us. We always encourage government to listen to their grievances as they support the country,” Ncube added.
Asked whether government was ready to meet their demands, Ncube said; “Well, it is part of the negotiations as you know but we will do everything within our means as government. We cannot run away from budgetary situation so that we can finance the salaries. I am sure we can agree on something that all parties will be happy about and we are determined to do that.”
Civil servants are demanding that their salaries be pegged in United States dollars or at prevailing inter-bank market rates.
The lowest paid civil servant is earning $1 023, which their representatives say has since been eroded by inflation and is no longer enough to enable them to report for duty everyday.
However, Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for a family of five is now $3 656.48 per month, according to a recent Zimbabwe National Statistics poverty analysis report.