Government and civil servants’ representatives are scheduled to meet this week to negotiate fresh salary adjustments and improved working conditions.
Civil servants’ salaries have been eroded by inflation which is now approaching the 1 000 per cent mark and there are calls for the government to pay its workers in foreign currency.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said that the government was committed to improving its workers’ salaries but is not in a position to remunerate them in US dollars. Said Mavima:
Our position is that we cannot remunerate our workers in US dollars. As Government, we cannot run around looking for US dollars when we have just introduced a new currency.
Meanwhile, Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said they will press for salaries in US dollars when the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) reconvenes. She said:
The workers are now in a very bad situation. When we go for negotiations we will press for salaries in US dollars. While we appreciate that it is good to have a local currency, the problem is that it is not storing value.
The NJNC, which comprises the government and public service representatives under the banner of the Apex Council, last met in January.
The lowest-paid civil servant earns about ZWL$3 000 before deductions.