Felex Share Herald Reporter
CIVIL servants’ unions have written to President Mugabe imploring him to intervene and help improve their salaries and working conditions by July.
They say Government has failed to convene a meeting under the National Joint Negotiating Council, while an appeal to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yielded nothing.
The letter written by Apex Council chairperson Mrs Tendai Chikowore, was copied to Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga, Public Service Commission chairperson Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah, NJNC chairperson Dr Nelson Sambureni and Government team leader, who is also the Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Prince Mupazviriho.
The Apex Council said Government workers’ salaries need the attention of the “the highest authority” to avoid a “potential impasse” as a result of “inflexible salary provisions in the 2012 national budget”.
The letter was written last week.
The Apex Council brings together the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the Public Service Association.
Reads the letter in part: “We, the Civil Service Apex Council are writing to you because we are trusting in your unequivocal stance regarding the welfare of the civil servants, particularly on the issue of remuneration.
“We are further convinced that social service delivery is close to your heart as testified by the amount of investment Zimbabwe has made in many fields, including education, health and many public services. As a civil service we appreciate and understand that we carry the country’s prime responsibility of delivering these social services.
“We are convinced therefore that no other office in this land other than yours understands that improved salaries and conditions of service translate into improved social service delivery.
“It is with the above understanding that we request your office to intervene in our salary reviews for 2012.”
The workers also had to approach the President last year after exhausting all negotiating channels and subsequently got an increment after meeting him.
They are demanding a minimum salary of US$538 per month in line with the poverty datum line. The least-paid Government worker earns US$296.
In the letter, Mrs Chikowore said the 2012 budget only sustained a review of “generic allowances” for civil servants in January, leaving salaries unadjusted.
“We accepted this scenario believing Zimbabwe will come around by the mid year and thereafter, an adjustment could be made. This is the hope that drives us to work day in day out. This hope will need your intervention to be sustained and to further turn the hope into reality…”
Zimta chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said: “The premier never came back to us since that February meeting and we are in the cold and confused. That is why we have written to the highest authority in this country.
“We also discovered that the resource tracking committee cannot influence the direction of negotiations in a polarised political and economic environment like ours.”
TUZ chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said PM Tsvangirai — being a former trade unionist — should have treated issues of civil servants’ salaries with urgency.
“We hope the President will give us an ear like what he did last year. For the other principals, we say they should wake up and realise that they have a duty to please their workers.
“Government wanted to buy time by its committee on resource tracking because we discovered that we cannot track resources that we have no jurisdiction over. It is the duty of Government to provide salaries and we should not be involved in the mobilisation of resources,” Mr Nyawo said.
PTUZ secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said: “Time is moving and we expect an increment by July 1, but as it stands there is no movement on the part of Government and we believe the issue of salaries is a political matter hence our decision to approach the President after exhausting all the channels.”
“On pulling out of the resource tracking committee, we discovered that we had been sent on a wild goose chase because we have no control over those resources.” he said.