Thursday, 6 June 2019

CIVIL SERVANTS DEMAND FOREX SALARIES


CIVIL servants have demanded payment of their salaries in United States dollars and have threatened to activate a pending notice for a potentially crippling strike, NewsDay has been informed.

The workers met their employer yesterday, where they made the demand, but no resolution was made to allow government to make consultations.

Secretary for the Apex Council, the umbrella body for civil service labour unions, David Dzatsunga, confirmed government workers had forwarded their demands to the employer.

Dzatsunga, however, refused to disclose details of their demands, adding no agreement had been reached after marathon meetings for the past three days. 

“We tabled our demands to our employer. Government will consult and bring back an answer. So far, nothing has been resolved,” he said. “I cannot tell you what we have demanded.”

But sources revealed that the workers said they no longer wanted inflationary adjustments, but to have their salaries paid in US$.

No decision was made on when government would report back to the workers.

The source, however, said the workers have threatened to activate a pending notice for a job action if government fails to meet their demands.

Tension has been rising between government and its workers over salaries as the RTGS$ continues to lose value against the US$ since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Civil servants complain that their salaries have been eroded eightfold due to the fall of the local currency at a time prices of most goods are pegged using the US$ as the reference point.

But Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou, whose organisation has pulled out of the Apex Council, described the move as mere “romance with government” by an illegal body.

He charged that the Apex Council was made up of people who were being used by government to stifle efforts by civil servants.

“Their demands mean nothing. It’s a way of seeking relevance because they know the tension within government workers. They do this and when government workers want to strike, they pull out. It’s a decision made a long time ago,” Zhou said. Newsday

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