By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Government is currently locked in a three-day meeting with civil servants to discuss working conditions that have been steadily deteriorating.
Civil servants in July embarked on a stay-away to force government to pay salaries and bonuses on time, but treasury continues to struggle to raise money for timely payments.
The meeting will end on Wednesday, after which civil servants representatives hoped a working solution would have been found to their problems.
The delegates are also expected to agree on non-monetary incentives such as the provision of subsidised housing, but government employees have in the recent past dismissed that as a ploy to massage them in the wake of repeated salary and bonus delays.
Public sector employees will have the chance to hear what government is doing on current civil service rationalisation that includes reducing the wage bill through retrenchments and reassignment.
In addition, delegates will discuss shifts in pay dates, the impending introduction of bond notes as well pensions and medical aid.
The bond notes worth some $75 million are expected at the end of October as government seeks to curb a current cash crisis by incentivising exports that are expected to generate more foreign currency.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, urged government to negotiate in good faith.
“The process of engagement must not be cherry-picked. We must discuss everything. We must not discuss for window dressing purposes.
“It must become part of our psyche; it must become a culture that workers and the government need to disagree or to agree. At the end of the day, when these things happen, we benefit as a nation.
“These initiatives must not be meant to create an environment of selling out, but it must be a notion of enrichment on both ends. Government must know the psyche of their workers, why they are angry or are making these demands,” said Majongwe.
David Dzatsunga, the College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe president, hoped that government would this time take their grievances seriously.
“Most of the things we have presented to Government have not been given enough time to be digested, and we hope such ample time will take us somewhere. As workers, we have a lot of unanswered questions and we hope some of them will be answered by this engagement,” he said.
Civil servants last met with government depart representatives two months ago but their engagement did not meet their expectations.
“The minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (Prisca Mupfumira) has considered it necessary for staff association representatives and their government counterparts to continuously engage in the National Joint Negotiating Council and others, on matters of mutual interest, which include among other things, shift of pay dates and ways to improve revenue collection,” said Public Service permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka. Nehanda Radio