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Civil servants rule out strike

19 Jan, 2020 - 00:01 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Lincoln Towindo
Senior Reporter

Government has reiterated its commitment to improve the welfare of its workers ahead of another round of salary negotiations.

The Government workers have also ruled out the possibility of a strike.

Talks between Government and civil servants representatives under the Apex Council ended in a deadlock two weeks ago after unions turned down an offer of a 100 percent salary increase.

The Sunday Mail has gathered that the unions held consultative meetings with their members last week who insisted on an adjustment that would see the lowest paid worker taking home the equivalent of US$475 on the interbank market rate.

However, Government offered the lowest paid employee around $2 033 per month.

In addition, public sector workers also received cushioning allowances ranging from $400 to $700 depending on grade.

Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga said Government remained open to further negotiations with its workers’ representatives.

He said negotiations would commence once the unions had concluded consultations with their members.

“As Government, we are still waiting for a formal response from the Apex Council. They are the ones who will determine the way forward,” said Mr Masanga.

“As the employer, we clearly stated our position and they responded saying that they wanted to do consultations with their constituencies before coming back to us.

“I am not sure when they will come back, but when they do we are prepared to sit down with them and negotiate.

“It is only when they come back with a response that we will sit down with them.

“I am yet to see any formal communication from them of their position after our last meeting.”

Apex Council secretary, Mr David Dzatsunga, said consultations with members were concluded last week with the workers insisting on US dollar-indexed salaries.

“We went back and consulted our members and the feedback we got is that they insisted on interbank-rated salaries,” said Mr Dzatsunga.

“They said the piecemeal increases were being wiped out instantly once they have been effected.

“They advised us to write to the Government to inform them of the gravity of our incapacitation.”

Mr Dzatsunga said Government workers remained committed to dialogue with the employer and delays in addressing their issues might result in non-attendance to work because of incapacitation.

“The employer should expect increased non-attendance, not because workers are on strike, but they are incapacitated.

“We have since advised the minister of the feedback we got from our members.

“But as worker representatives, we are always ready for dialogue; to sit with our employer and try to come up with a solution to these challenges. So as it stands the ball is in Government’s court.”

Last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said Government was seized with addressing the issue of salaries for civil servants.

Addressing journalists, Minister Ncube said Government had other pressing issues that also required equal attention.

He said the other pressing issues were national food security, power generation, job creation and stabilising the local currency.

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