By Anna Chibamu
GOVERNMENT does not have the capacity to pay civil servants in foreign currency but will make periodic reviews on the current Zimbabwe dollar wage in recognition of the current inflationary environment.
Public Service Minister Paul Mavima told Parliamentarians Wednesday that the government would continue to push for negotiations with unions to stop industrial action but was in no position to give its employees the United States dollar salaries being demanded.
This was after opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Glen View North MP Fani Munengami had asked what the government was doing regarding the strike by the civil servants who were demanding to be paid in foreign currency.
State employees under the banner of Zimbabwe Confederation Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) last week announced a new job action after talks failed to reach an agreement.
“The current strike by civil servants, especially teachers will affect children and those who are sick in hospitals. Teachers’ grievances are not being heard,” Munengami said.
Responding, Minister Mavima said; “Currently, intensive consultations with all representatives from civil service associations who are willing to come on board are on-going.
“We had another of those meetings last week and another one is scheduled for Monday (August1, 2022) next week to deliberate on the matter.
“As much as we agree to a decent salary, we cannot have an optimum salary of US$540 being asked for by the workers.”
He added; “As Zimbabweans, do we have the capacity to pay that amount per each employee? That fiscal space is not there.
“Government is committed to periodic reviews. Are we going to be using foreign currency as opposed to our own currency?”
The minister also explained that government was going to make future salary reviews in recognition of the inflationary environment.
Speaker Jacob Mudenda urged Munengami to raise the issue with finance minister Mthuli Ncube during the mid-term budget review scheduled for Thursday (today).