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'Government understands civil servants plight'

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2019 at 11:33hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT does not dispute the need to pay civil servants a cost of living adjustment hence its decision to provide them with annual bonuses inclusive of their allowances, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday.

She said during a Post-Cabinet meeting Press briefing held in Harare that while civil servants' concerns were genuine, Government cannot at the moment accede to all their demands due to other national demands such as providing food relief to drought-hit communities.

The civil servants' body Apex Council had earlier announced plans to stage a protest today over low salaries.

"Government does not dispute the need to give a cost of living adjustment to its workers but was facing various competing national demands. These include payment of annual bonus that will take a significant portion of resources and due to restricted revenue inflows would be staggered between November and December 2019. Also, the need to import grain to supplement grain reserves. Those are some of the various competing national demands," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government was also providing several safety nets including the Presidential agricultural inputs for farmers as well as subsidised transport for commuters under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) scheme.

The Minister said Government also bought additional buses to increase the fleet of Zupco buses. Minister Mutsvangwa said Government would be able to review the cost of living in the next three months but employees should in the meantime take solace in that they will get bonuses with allowances.

"The budget cycle was coming to an end and that was difficult to get additional resources from the current budget and therefore a review in the cost of living was certainly going to happen in 2020. The Government indicated that it would be able to provide cushion through the payment of the annual bonus which will be paid inclusive of allowances, contrary to the previous year where it was paid based on basic salary alone," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said Government has also invited Apex Council to select three members to join a tripartite negotiating forum technical committee which will be meeting in Kadoma next week to try and to come up with a lasting social contract to arrest price increases among other pressing issues.

The Minister noted that yesterday's National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting did not yield positive results as civil servants insisted on demonstrating. In a statement, Apex Council said their demonstration would proceed as planned today describing yesterday's indaba as fruitless.
"The much-anticipated Apex Council demonstration set for tomorrow Wednesday, 6 November 2019 will go ahead as scheduled following a fruitless NJNC meeting held today 5 November 2019. According to the Government workers negotiating team, the employer brought nothing to the table, completely with zero offer, zero cushion and no interbank rate being applied," reads Apex Council statement.

"To add insult to injury, Government has gone back on its earlier offer to pay all bonuses in November, confirming instead that they will pay over two months meaning some civil servants will get inflation blighted bonuses. Government workers are demanding inter-bank rate salaries. Accordingly, Apex Council protest will proceed as scheduled." National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said he was not aware of the civil servants planned demonstration.

"At the headquarters we are not aware maybe the concerned regulating authority should shed light," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

Source - chronicle