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Mnangagwa's govt fails to stop demos

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2019 at 11:56hrs | Views
The government yesterday failed in its last ditch bid to fend off today's protests in Harare's central business district by its disgruntled workers, who are pressing for pay hikes. This comes as the civil servants have issued a "hands off" warning to political parties and pressure groups seeking to get mileage out of their demonstration – which has been granted by the police on condition it does turn violent.

The government yesterday held a hastily-arranged meeting with representatives of the Apex Council  the union which represents all public sector workers, minus security agencies and health professionals  in a desperate bid to stop today's march.

Addressing journalists in a post-Cabinet media conference, Public Service minister Sekai Nzenza said while they had failed to reach an agreement, the government was still pleading with its workers to call off their march.

She said during the meeting, the Apex Council was told that the government was aware of the need to award a cost of living adjustment, but that it was hamstrung by various competing needs like payment of annual bonuses, grain imports and the subsidisation of transport through Zupco.

In addition, the government said, the 2019 budget cycle was coming to an end and it would be difficult to mobilise extra resources from the current budget.

Meanwhile, the Apex Council has said that it would go ahead with its demonstration, arguing that the employer had offered them nothing to placate their members.

As a result, the council's chairperson Cecilia Alexander said, the march would take place as planned and a petition "will be delivered to the concerned ministers".

Civil servants have been accusing the government of not responding to their demands for US dollar-indexed salaries to cushion them against soaring inflation. The lowest paid civil servant gets slightly above $1 000  an amount that the government employees have described as "slave wages".

Source - dailynews