Unions representing civil servants have conceded that the majority of their members ignored the call to take part in the two-day national strike that was planned for Wednesday and Thursday.
In a statement, all the federations that organise in the Public Sector, namely FEUZ, FOZEU, NFOZ and PSA said most civil servants did not take part in the exercise due to various reasons. The reasons, according to the unions, include the following:
- Many indicated that they were docked part of their salaries pursuant to the incapacitation declared by education sector unions in February 2022. This instilled fear in some civil servants, with the result that some, despite the obvious incapacitation, still failed to exercise their constitutional rights to collective job action.
- Members who took part in the same incapacitation exercise were excluded from the 2022 Census and ZEC exercises. This reduced the number of participants in the exercise as some still hope to be included in future national programs purely for financial reasons.
- Membership bemoaned the little time accorded to them to be involved in the job action. There was little time for most people to activate their structures to participate in the two-day job action.
- Social media was awash with insinuations that those who would participate the industrial action are anti-government and this really intimidated members, especially those in political hotbeds away from the urban areas.
- In some sectors like education, some have continued to report for work based on the argument that they are marking mid-year examinations, and would still find their work waiting for them after two days.
- Others also survive from the lessons they hold in schools, and the snacks they sell to learners.
- For most in the rest of the civil service, they did not participate due to lack of the dense cover enjoyed in the education and health sectors. In some cases, there are very few civil servants and therefore many fear being easily identified to have taken part in action.
The unions warned that if the Government does not address their grievances, massive industrial action is imminent in September.
What are the civil servants’ demands?
- Immediate restoration of the value of our wages to pre-October 2018 levels, to be paid in USD and not in ZWL.
- An immediate halt to the wave of suspensions, summary dismissals, illegal disallowances and victimisation of teachers and nurses for exercising their constitutional right to organise and to a fair and reasonable wage.
- The payment of a medical allowance to all civil servants without discrimination.
- The employer should desist from bashing union leadership for exercising their representative roles as messengers of their voiceless membership.
- The employer should speedily implement all prior collective agreements fully, including but not limited to timeous school fees payment for the children of educators, regrading, sectoral allowances and performance advancement.