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Showdown looms over US$ salaries

by Staff reporter
16 Jul 2020 at 08:02hrs | Views
Civil servants have requested a post-Mid-Term Fiscal Policy review meeting with the ministries of Finance and Public Service Labour and Social Welfare and central bank chief John Mangudya as they push for United States dollars salaries.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube will today present the Mid Term Fiscal policy statement at a time the economy is facing serious headwinds following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.

The move by the public service representative body comes at a time when the consumer basket has soared to ZWL$13,000 in June as the local currency continues to depreciate against the greenback.

This also comes after the government has left the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) payment modalities to be announced in the mid-term budget by Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube.

Experts say the government has bought itself enough time to avoid protest when they told civil servants representatives to wait a little longer.

In a letter addressed to the Public Service Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima yesterday, Civil Service Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) processes were not enough to address their plight hence the decision to call the monetary authorities.

"The Civil Service Apex Council cordially requests that you facilitate a post budget consultative meeting to be chaired by yourself involving the Minister of Finance, the Reserve Bank Governor and any other principal you may deem relevant," Alexander wrote, adding the request was motivated by the Apex Council to present the workers' perspective regarding terms and conditions in the Covid-19 environment and a dollarised economy.

"We also believe a meeting of this nature will afford the fiscal and monetary authorities an opportunity to directly speak to the workers in respect of our road map towards economic recovery and give the workers an appreciation of government's plans for the civil service in the short, medium and long term."

Alexander said the request was complementary to the NJNC processes.

Mavima said civil servants are yet to receive their US$75 Covid-19 allowances from last month due to complex payment modalities.

After the government failed to fulfill its US$ payment in June last year, civil servants who got a 50% salary increment now demand October 2018 United States salaries or US$475 per month.

Workers have planned a series of demonstrations against the government to attend their US$ payment demands.

"We will continue with negotiations after minister Ncube has presented the mid-term budget as we want to see what the government has offered and we will map the way forward from there. Civil servants will start to receive their US$75 Covid-19 allowance and the pensioners will get US$30 for the next three months," Mavima.

"We will fulfill civil servants' promises this month and we will pay in United States dollars that's why we told them to open Nostro accounts. We will not give them the Zimbabwean dollar as reported in other quarters."

Source - businesstimes