Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday raised its salary offer to civil servants from $160 million announced last week to $300 million. The $300 million is to be shared by workers in the civil service from April to December this year.
The increment comes after President Mnangagwa this week awarded the workers a “cushioning allowance” of 22,7 percent each month for January, February and March to lessen the impact of recent increases in the prices of basic commodities.
The cushioning allowance is separate from the cost of living adjustment currently under negotiation.
Civil servants’ union leaders, who were meeting Government negotiators for the second time in two weeks, rejected the offer and once again asked for time to consult their membership.
Speaking after a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting in Harare yesterday, Apex Council chair Mrs Cecelia Alexander said the latest offer still fell short of their expectations.
The workers are demanding a $1 733 salary for the least-paid worker, up from $414 inclusive of allowances, an increase of 419 percent.
“We appreciate the gesture by the Head of State of according us a 22,7 percent cushioning allowance but unfortunately it falls far too short of our expectations and will not address the problem of incapacitation,” Mrs Alexander said.
“Government today brought a revised offer of $300 million from the $160 million offered last week. In our view this will not restore the value of what we are earning. Meanwhile, we are going back to our membership to give them feedback and to be advised on which direction to take. We have asked them to go back and parcel out the money for us to see what exactly the lowest-paid worker will be getting.”
She said Government reiterated to them that salaries would not be paid in foreign currency.
“We insisted on US dollars and even said they should give us the levels we are getting in forex, but they told us there is no way they will be able to do that,” Mrs Alexander said.
The Government is working on various ways to improve the welfare and working conditions of its workers.
It is proposing to give them other non-monetary benefits which include land for housing, residential mortgage schemes, vehicle loans and medical care.
Government also wants a public service pension scheme based on funded and defined benefit modality that it guarantees set up.
This should protect contributors and generate input to align the current legislation that guides labour relations in the public sector to the Constitution.
The Government is also using the negotiations to solicit input on the amendment of the Public Service Act, the establishment of the Public Service Collective Bargaining Council and the creation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum to facilitate dialogue among the social partners.