Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima has said the Government and its employees are expected to hold a final meeting before a deadlock can be declared.
This comes after civil servants threatened to down tools, accusing the government of failing to resolve the contentious salaries issue through the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
Mavima told NewsDay on Monday that if civil servants fail to report for duty now, they will not be paid their salaries under the “no-work-no-salary” principle.
In spite of civil servants’ refusal to accept the 70 per cent salary increment offer, Mavima said the government was still committed to negotiations with its employees for an amicable solution. Said Mavima:
We can’t have that (no work) prior to a declaration of a disagreement and even if there was a declaration of a disagreement, there will be an arbitration process and that arbitration process will be given an opportunity to go forward prior to the engagement in industrial action.
So there is no basis whatsoever that while we are negotiating, civil servants will not go to work.
This is where the government is saying if that happens then we will implement the no-work-no- pay principle because we still have an opportunity to continue with the discussions until we reach an agreement.
As I said, any variation in the government offer which comes from the negotiations will be then effective at an appropriate time and if backdated, with the necessary backdating.
Civil servants want to be paid between US$520 and US$550, which they received in 2018 before the government reintroduced the local currency.
The government has rejected its employees’ demands and has instead offered them a staggered pay rise distributed across several months.
The last NJNC meeting was held last week but civil servants described it as a “damp squib”.