Govt, civil servants in cordial meeting Professor Paul Mavima

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

Representatives from Government and civil servants met yesterday and exchanged notes in a friendly atmosphere on a cost of living adjustment (COLA), before adjourning to allow for further consultations.

The two parties are expected to resume the discussions potentially next week.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima, told The Herald yesterday that the meeting was deferred to allow further consultations.

“Representatives from both sides met and the meeting was deferred to allow both sides to make further consultations. Once the two parties have consulted they will reconvene,” said Prof Mavima.

In a statement last night, Public Service Commission (PSC) Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe confirmed the adjournment of the discussions.

“Negotiations between Government and its workforce began in earnest and in a cordial and constructive atmosphere this afternoon (yesterday) as the Government team and workers’ representatives exchanged notes on cost of living adjustment and on other matters relating to the welfare of civil servants.

“The meeting adjourned in the late afternoon to facilitate consultations, and it is expected that the talks will resume as early as next week,” said Ambassador Wutawunashe.

PSC head of human capital and management, Mr Moses Mhike, who was the team leader, could not be drawn into commenting substantively on how the negotiations went on, saying he needed time to brief his constituency first.

“We will issue a statement on what transpired and the way forward. There are certain protocols that we have to follow first before we issue a statement,” said Mr Mhike.

The civil servants’ representative body under the banner of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Union led by Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they did not agree to the 25 percent offer from Government.

Mrs Alexander said they initially wanted to boycott the meeting because of what she regarded as threats by the employer, who indicated that workers who failed to report to their work stations at the appointed dates will not be paid.

This follows threats by some teacher representative bodies that their members may be unable to report for work on March 15 and March 22, starting with examination classes and then the rest of classes.

Said Mrs Alexander: “There is nothing to bring back home to you our constituency. The Government’s offer does not even whisper to our demands which we have been tabling since we started negotiations post the dollarised era of October 2018.”

She said in yesterday’s meeting, the Government tabled a 25 percent increment effective April 1.

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