Govt, civil servants sign salary deal

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Government and civil servants’ representatives have agreed on a salary deal that will see the least-paid employee getting three quarters of the Poverty Datum Line which they set at US$505. Another salary review is expected mid-year and the implementation of non-monetary and indigenisation benefits would take centre-stage in between as the Zanu-PF Government fulfils its promise to improve the welfare of civil servants whose plight worsened as sanctions-induced hardships curtailed Government’s capacity to pay its workforce.
Both parties signed the deal.

Apex Council team leader and Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundani yesterday said the union leaders had agreed to the Government offer, bringing the total package for the lowest-paid civil servant in Grade B1 to US$375, up from US$297.

The adjustments were effected on the basic salary only and transport (US$66) and housing allowances (US$91) remained unchanged.
Government has also agreed to mobilise an additional US$3 million every month for the decompression of salary grades, a move that would see the workers being paid according to seniority, qualification and experience.

“We have adopted a salary bill that has been increased by US$13 million and we have also agreed that Government mobilise an additional US$3 million for decompression of salary grades,” said Mr Gundane.

The new salary structure would also see the Government monthly wage for the over 230 000 civil servants moving from US$142 million to US$155 million.

Mr Gundane said the negotiators had also agreed on the levels of the PDL.
“For the purposes of progress we have settled on a Zimstat informed PDL which currently stands at US$505. Government had said the PDL stands at US$500 while we had used US$540,” he said.

The workers were demanding US$543 as the minimum salary and 30 percent of basic salary as rural allowance.
The rural allowance remains at 5 percent of basic salary.

Mr Gundane said engagements on non-monetary benefits, chief among them housing, had started.
“We have agreed that Government should start implementing the provision of land for housing purposes,” he said.

“A lot of work needs to be done in this area and it means the business of the National Joint Negotiating Council is not going to stop. It has been resolved that as Apex Council we have to be involved in the roll out of these schemes.”

Added Mr Gundane: “As Apex we are going to be involved in labour law reforms that are seeking to align the existing Acts to the new Constitution. The next meeting that we are going to have at the end of February will come up with a roadmap that is important in implementing our agreements. What has not been achieved now is going to be achieved by way of adopting and implementing a road map which is going to take us up to mid-year where possible adjustments are going to be effected.”

Under the new salary structure, those in Grade D1 (such as teachers straight out of college) would get $500 up from US$446 while those in EI such as deputy directors would get US$623.

Public Service Association president Mrs Alexander Cecelia said while the figure offered by Government was not what they expected, they were happy that they were engaging with the employer.

“We will continue to engage to improve our welfare and unlike in the inclusive Government era, we are now part of the processes coming up until they become a reality.”

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said they had accepted the marginal increment after into taking into consideration the state of the economy.

“The increment is a drop in the ocean but we understand we are a country coming out of elections and resources are strained,” he said.
“We are happy that Government is working towards PDL and we do not want politicians, like what happened with the MDC-T and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union who wanted to negotiate for us like last week.

“We have got our own negotiating platform and if they want to engage Government they are free to do so on their own.”

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