Centre News Reporter

Civil Servants in the country have vehemently rejected the $100% salary increase in local currency by the government saying it was meagre and far below the poverty datum line.

Treasury yesterday announced through a letter to Public Service that it has increased civil servants salaries in Zimbabwean dollars by 100% while rising cushion and covid-19 allowance from US$200 to US$250 across all sectors excluding health sector.

Teachers were added with a US$80 teaching allowance, indexed to interbank rate, while, an increase of cushion and covid-19 allowance for government pensioners was made from US$90 to US$100.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ) said they rejected the increment because it is far less than their demand of a USD 1 200 per month.

“The quantum of the offer is not in sync with current realities of the teacher. If calculated the amount leaves the teacher living on less than a third of the basket of needs and cost of living. Thus the offer is not worth accepting because teachers remain poor. The USD 80 per month which will be converted to local currency doesn’t cater for the school fees needs. The 100% increment makes a total of ZWL 80 000 and means housing allowance will just be ZWL 14 000. The pathetic figures must be rejected,” said ARTUZ in statement.

 Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PRTUZ), President Takavafira Zhou lambasted government for taking a unilateral decision to increase the salaries before reaching an agreement with public service workers under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).

“For the avoidance of doubt teachers and the rest of civil servants must take cognisance of the fact that the figures circulated in the communique are a product of figures discussed in the second meeting with workers’ representatives, that government team was persuaded to go back and reconsider by workers’ representatives. In the first meeting, the government team had even brought miserable figures of 50% ZWL remuneration review and increase of cushion and covid-19 allowances from US$200 to US$220.” He said

ARTUZ also concurred and lashed out at government for disrespecting the workers salary negotiators by clandestinely rising salaries without agreeing with them.

“The offer is not a product of a genuine process of collective bargaining as envisaged by section 203 (1) (b) of our constitution and read along with section 65 where the employer is not allowed to unilaterally change conditions of service. Therefore on that level the offer is illegitimate and not a product of genuine processes,” Artuz added.

However the two civil servants labour unions are demanding different USD salaries with ARTUZ demanding $1 200 while PTUZ says tits realistic to demand $ 5 40 they earned in 2018.

Labour Minister Paul Mavhima said government coffers were dry and cannot afford the salaries demanded by civil servants.

ARTUZ have vowed to continue with their job action and will only go back to work when the employer addresses their demand of USD 1 260.