USD pay rise for civil servants Mrs Cecelia Alexander

Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau

GOVERNMENT has offered a 25 percent salary increment to civil servants in United States dollar terms which will result in State employees getting US$200 effectively this month.

The workers have, however, demanded that Government also increase the salaries in local currency.

Civil servants are paid both in local currency and foreign currency to cushion them from the volatile economic environment.

The new salary regime was tabled yesterday during a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting between employees and Government negotiators.

The meeting also touched on the on-bonus payment where Government committed to paying the 13th cheque in foreign currency.

While bonuses for the majority of civil servants are guaranteed, Government recently adopted a position that senior civil servants who signed performance based contracts will only be paid the 13th cheque if they perform according to their contracts.

In a statement yesterday, Apex Council president Mrs Cecelia Alexander confirmed the new salary package that Government has offered to employees.

“The employer offered an increase of 25 percent on the USD$100 to make it US$125 and maintained the USD$75 Covid-19 allowance to make the total US dollar package US$200 with effect from September 1, 2022. The workers acknowledged the increase but chose to wait for specific modalities on how this is going to be implemented,” said Mrs Alexander.

“The employer did not offer or table any increase on the ZWL salary and the workers demanded that this be also reviewed without fail. In the end the Government side asked for time out to consult.”

She said they also deliberated on the payment of bonuses where the employer guaranteed that the bonus is assured.

“Government committed to paying the 2022 bonus in US dollar but did not provide any figures and again asked for time to consult on the payment details and the total offer thereof,” she said.

Mrs Alexander said employees notified the employer that the $20 000 allowance that Government extended to pay school fees for teachers’ children has been eroded by inflation.

She said workers recommended that the amount be indexed against the US dollar.

“The workers advised the employer to resuscitate already agreed to sector-specific allowances so as to bring all Government workers to the same level to which Government committed to speedily work on the implementation modalities,” she said.

“On the school fees assistance for teachers, the Government indicated that they had faced challenges again with payment modalities, but it was acknowledged by both parties that most of the bottlenecks have now been addressed. The workers then felt that the $20 000 per child was no longer enough given the latest school fees increase and that Government should consider indexing the figure to US$50 value.”

Mrs Alexander said the parties agreed to adjourn the meeting to allow for the Government side to consult with their principals on the agreed position.

She said they expect to reconvene within a week to finalise on the discussed issues.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said he had not been debriefed on the outcomes of the NJNC meeting.

He however, reaffirmed Government’s commitment to provide a living wage for employees

“Government remains committed to improving the conditions of service for employees. I’m glad that we are finding each other. This is exactly what Government had promised, to review their salaries in September,” he said,

Prof Mavima said constant consultations between the employer and the employees was critical so that they understand where the Government is coming from.

He said when the Second Republic came to power the country’s economic fundamentals were in shambles but step by step they were being fixed.

Prof Mavima said civil servants are key players in implementers of the Government projects hence they need to appreciate policies being implemented to develop the country.

“So, engagement is important so that we are on the same page as far as the development programmes are concerned. They also need to understand where the Government is coming from in terms of resuscitating the economy. So, it is important that we understand each other through dialogue, we understand their concerns as they also understand the policy programmes being implemented by Government,” said Prof Mavima.

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