Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Civil servants protest against low salaries

About 1,000 Zimbabwe civil servants marched through the streets of the capital Harare on Friday demanding hefty increases in their salaries.

Zimbabwe’s 230,000 government workers went on strike two weeks ago to demand that government increase their salaries to 630 dollars a month (467 euros), from current levels of about 150 dollars.

Singing and holding placards with such slogans as “We say no to slave wages,” the workers handed petitions to the offices of Finance Minister Tendai Biti and speaker of parliament Lovemore Moyo.

The petition said civil servants were “alarmed by the continuing general lack of transparency by government, which claims it has no capacity to meet salary expectations of public servants.”

Cecilia Alexander, president of the Public Servants Association, told the protesters that the march was to press government to increase their salaries.

“We want to make it clear to the employer that we are not going to be intimidated,” Alexander said.

Since the strike began, government has given increases of about 10 dollars to allowances for housing and transport.

Last week, the chairman of the Public Service Commission said the strike was illegal, ordering the state employees to return to work. The strike appears to have been only partially observed, with many offices still running normally.

Zimbabwe civil servants, particularly teachers, nurses and doctors, have been striking on and off over better salaries since 2008. AFP