Civil servants stall pay deal

Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas GocheTendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
SALARY negotiations between the Government and civil servants are being stalled by disagreement among the workers on who to second to the National Joint Negotiating Council which is expected to make the final agreement on an increment. President Mugabe pledged to improve the lot of civil servants, and the Government recently extended an olive branch to civil service unions to come up with salary proposals in which they asked for US$600 a month for the lowest-paid worker.

According to Statutory Instrument 141 of 1997, civil service unions are supposed to submit names of nine representatives to the NJNC.
Civil service unions that spoke to The Herald yesterday gave conflicting numbers of representatives submitted to the NJNC.

Some said they submitted nine representatives, while others claimed that they presented 12 names to Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche.

Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Ngoni Masoka last Wednesday wrote a letter to all the 12 unions, urging them to submit the substantive list of their negotiators to the NJNC.

In the letter, Mr Masoka said the delay in coming up with the list was affecting salary negotiations between Government and its workers.
“Reference is made to the meeting of 03 October 2013, wherein you promised to resolve your Apex Council leadership dispute and submit an agreed list of NJNC workers’ negotiators to the Minister,” he said.

“At the moment, no list of the workers’ negotiators has been submitted and this is jeopardising social dialogue between Government and its employees.

“Accordingly, this letter serves as a follow up on how far you have gone in coming up with a properly constituted Apex Council.”
The letter was also copied to Minister Goche, his deputy Cde Tongai Muzenda and the chairman of the NJNC Dr Nelson Sambureni.
In separate interviews yesterday, some of the civil service unions gave conflicting information on why they failed to come up with a number of representatives in line with the law.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe accused the Zimbabwe Teachers Association of Zimbabwe and the Public Service Association of being selfish.

He said the two unions insisted on having at least three representatives to the NJNC.
Mr Majongwe said such a number was huge and had a bearing on other unions that should also submit names of their representatives to the same forum.

“They (Zimta and PSA) are being selfish unnecessarily to want to monopolise these seats,” he said.
“People who go to negotiate go there on the collective position agreed by all unions, so it is not necessary for a single union to have more representatives at the NJNC.

Mr Majongwe said it was important for Zimta and PSA to drop their big brother mentality and allow small unions to come on board.
He said they resolved their differences as unions and submitted a list of 12 representatives to Minister Goche.

It was pointless, Mr Majongwe said, for Government to continue insisting on nine negotiators, yet the number of unions registered by the same Government had increased over the years.

But Mr Manuel Nyawo of the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe differed with Mr Majongwe saying they submitted a list of nine negotiators that represented civil servants last year.

Mr Nyawo said it was unwarranted for Mr Majongwe to criticise Zimta and PSA for claiming more seats in the NJNC.
“He (Majongwe) is being stubborn for nothing,” he said. “Just across the Limpopo in South Africa there is recognition of a union with the largest following.

“As such, Zimta here can not have the same number of representatives with other unions because of its size.”
Public Service Association president Mrs Cecilia Alexander denied that they were approaching the negotiations with a “big brother” mentality.

She said there were two unions that were just being stubborn and refusing to cooperate with others.

“As a matter of procedure, we cannot all go to the negotiations,” she said. “There is no big brother mentality here. The issue is that there are some people who do not want to be left out and that is what is creating problems.”

Mrs Alexander said all the unions submitted a list of nine representatives to the NJNC, with the PSA presenting four representatives.

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