Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Government yesterday began a three-day engagement with civil servants to apprise them of their conditions of service and non-monetary incentives, such as housing, that are being worked out.
The workers are also expected to be informed about the ongoing rationalisation exercise, the shift in pay dates, impending introduction of bond notes as well as pensions and medical aid benefits. Government has also invited experts in different fields to the meetings.
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Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Ngoni Masoka said the engagement was a culmination of the meetings civil servants had with Ministers Prisca Mupfumira and Patrick Chinamasa, and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya two months ago.
“In the same spirit, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mupfumira has considered it necessary for staff association representatives and their Government counterparts to continuously engage in the National Joint Negotiating Council and others, on matters of mutual interest, which include among other things, shift of pay dates and ways to improve revenue collection,” he said.
“The programme for this engagement includes various topics for issues that generally affect members of the public service and their conditions of service. To this end, the ministry has invited various experts in the different areas that have an impact on conditions of service for civil servants, be they monetary or non-monetary.
“It should be borne in mind that the aim of improving conditions of service for the worker is to ensure continued and quality service delivery in the public service. Conditions of service can only be improved through negotiations and as we continue with the process, we should not renege on our mandate of providing the essential services to the public.”
The civil servants representatives welcomed the engagement saying it should “become the culture.” “The process of engagement must not be cherry-picked,” said Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe.
“We must discuss everything. We must not discuss for window dressing purposes. It must become part of our psyche; it must become a culture that workers and the Government need to disagree or to agree. At the end of the day, when these things happen, we benefit as a nation.
“These initiatives must not be meant to create an environment of selling out, but it must be a notion of enrichment on both ends. Government must know the psyche of their workers, why they are angry or are making these demands,” Mr Majongwe said.
Added College Lecturer Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga: “Most of the things we have presented to Government have not been given enough time to be digested, and we hope such ample time will take us somewhere. As workers, we have a lot of unanswered questions and we hope some of them will be answered by this engagement.”