By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
21 January 2014
Civil service unions have accepted the government’s offer of a $79 salary increment, which will see the lowest-paid worker earning a monthly wage of $375.
The civil servants had wanted the lowest paid worker to earn $540, in line with the poverty datum line, and as promised by Mugabe during last year’s elections.
But this was rejected by the government which says it has no money. Union representatives told the press that their hopes were now pinned on the mid-term budget review to achieve a decent wage.
Progressive Teachers Union President, Takavafira Zhou, said teachers, whose salaries have been increased by $54, were not buying the claim that there is no money.
“Government just does not prioritise education or value the civil service. How can they say there is no money when the country has all these mineral resources?
“We have a self-centred government that priorities looting, nepotism and all the ‘isms’ you can think of at the expense of its workers,” Zhou told SW Radio Africa Tuesday.
He said the $54 dollars government offer will see teachers, regardless of years in service, earning a salary of $500 to $530, which is still below the poverty threshold.
“The government has negotiated in bad faith. They took our position paper and tweaked it, and never exchanged theirs until we went into discussions.”
Zhou said they would now focus on negotiating with their employer over the promised non-monetary incentives, which include housing stands.
“Even with these incentives, there is no clarity or indication of how and when the government will begin to roll them out. All we were told was that the government will approach the local authorities, but no time frame has been set,” Zhou added.
The union leader slammed other civil service unions for lacking a unity of purpose during negotiations.
“The government was able to get away with this paltry offer because some union representatives were quick to accept the employer’s position without even consulting the membership,” Zhou told SW Radio Africa.
The head of the Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Manuel Nyawo, told the Newsday newspaper that they were unhappy with the offer but compromised in order to reach an agreement with government.