Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Civil servants yesterday started receiving a cushioning allowance, while the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) convened a meeting to discuss an increment and other conditions of service for Government workers.
Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) received salaries adjusted with the cushion allowance, while other members of the civil service are expected to get theirs on their scheduled pay dates.
Those who spoke to The Herald yesterday said they received an adjustment which ranged from around 40 percent of their usual salaries.
This dovetails with an assurance by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube that civil servants will have an increment with effect from this month.
The NJNC, which brings together representatives of Government workers under the Apex Council and those representing the Government, held a marathon meeting yesterday to discuss conditions of service.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said an agreement on the real salary increment should be reached by Wednesday.
“The NJNC will continue negotiations tomorrow (today). There should be an outcome by tomorrow or Wednesday,” she said.
In an interview, Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said the meeting was aimed at affording them feedback following the proposal they submitted on conditions of service for civil servants could be improved.
“The meeting had only one item, to get a feedback on the proposal that we had presented. No agreement was settled in the meeting but we agreed that each party should go back to its constituency for a way forward. It was equally agreed that we should reconvene before the end of this week because the issues that we are dealing with are very urgent,” said Mrs Alexander.
She said they were not happy with the offer that was presented to them by representatives of their employer.
“From our calculations, what they were offering, one would get an average of about $97 which we feel fell far short of what we expected given the cost of living. As a result, we rejected the offer that came from our employer,” said Mr Alexander.
She said they will be meeting today as Apex Council to brief their constituency of deliberations they had yesterday and chart the way forward.
“Of late there has been pronouncement from senior Government officials about salary increment and that obviously raised expectations and our constituency, therefore, expected that our employer come up with offers that help in cushioning members,” said Mrs Alexander.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza was not picking her phone while her deputy Cde Lovemore Matuke said he was yet to be briefed of the outcome of the meeting.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president, Mr Richard Gundani described the discussions as work in progress.
“We have not yet reached an agreement. What is important is to mention that, as Apex council, we are dealing with an agitated constituency whose salaries have long been eroded. This is why we have indicated that our members are incapacitated to come to work. That was real and it has come to a situation where our teachers are failing to come to work. This is what we presented in today’s NJNC meeting. We have agreed to reconvene but we emphasised the need to address this issue as a matter of urgency,” said Mr Gundani.