By Moses Matenga
The crunch meeting between government and civil servants ended in a deadlock yesterday after the workers rejected a “paltry” 25% offer tabled by their employer.
Government on Thursday called for a meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council to deliberate on the cost of living adjustment and other matters that relate to the welfare of civil servants.
Government had, ahead of the meeting, threatened to withhold salaries for workers who would abscond duty, a position largely seen as targeting teachers who are expected to attend classes on Monday.
The civil servants had threatened to boycott the meeting in protest over the “intimidatory statement” by Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe on Thursday.
David Dzatsunga, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, said the meeting ended in a stalemate and they were consulting their membership on the way forward.
“There is nothing to bring back home to you our constituency. The government’s offer does not even whisper to our demands which we have been tabling since we started negotiations post the dollarised era of October 2018. In today’s meeting, the government tabled a derisory offer of 25% with effect from April 1, 2021 against the 151% offered accorded to other sectors,” Dzatsunga said in a statement after the meeting.
“Fellow comrades, as we are all aware that we had threatened to pull out of the meeting due to the intimidatory presser which was released by the Public Service Commission on the eve of today’s meeting, after some engagements, a way forward was mapped and the meeting took place.”
For grade B1, civil servants are expected to get $16 752 up from $14 642, while C1 grade workers are expected to get $17 659 up from $15 378.
Civil servants in the grade E5 category will get $33 647 from $28 168.
“After the presentation colleagues, the offer was totally rejected. The council had an argument based on adherence to the November 2020 agreement which speaks to the crafting of the roadmap to restoration of October 2018 salaries. It, therefore, denotes that any offer to be tabled should be a result of the roadmap that is when we are to reach our target of 2018 October salaries.”
“To this end comrades, the meeting ended with an impasse. We, therefore, stand guided by you on how best to treat this scenario,” he added.
This week, the civil servants grouping petitioned the government over the erosion of government workers’ salaries and gave notice of a nationwide full-blown strike next week.
Public Service minister Paul Mavima was unreachable to comment on the deadlock last night. NewsDay