The government has allayed civil servants’ fears that the US$75.00 COVID-19 cushioning allowance is all that they will get in the short to medium term.
Secretary for the Public, Defence, Police and Prisons and Recreational Service Commissions Jonathan Wutawunashe on Thursday said the government has not cancelled engagements with the Apex Council. He said:
I am not sure that when the Government recognises a problem that has to be addressed immediately, that impacts on livelihoods, that the Government’s move to bring relief should be subject to debate and criticism.
I am not so sure that a beneficiary of relief will be distressed that they are getting relief. What the Government has done, does not in any manner shape or form or cancel the engagements that Government will definitely have with the Apex Council.
That is why the US$75 measure is clearly an interim measure that is tied to the Covid-19 challenge right now.
It does not in any way make a statement about the National Joint Negotiating Council, which is still the valid forum for engagement between Government and representatives of workers.
There is no government that would say just because there is a mechanism that can be activated tomorrow, the pain of today cannot be addressed.
The Apex Council had protested that the government did consult it before announcing the cushioning allowance while the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has rejected the arrangement outright.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development announced on Wednesday that COVID-19 cushioning allowance will be reviewed in three months’ time.