Monday, 5 October 2020

COLA ALLOWANCES TO CONTINUE : GOVT

GOVERNMENT will continue paying civil servants the additional Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) allowance as salary negotiations continue.

Most civil servants received the COLA payment for last month last Friday and is meant to cushion them while negotiations for salary review continue.

Government has since June been paying civil servants a flat non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$75 while pensioners who retired from the civil service are getting US$30 per month. The Covid-19 allowance which was initially meant to cover three months, has been extended to the end of the year.

Three weeks ago, the Government tabled a 40 percent salary increase which was rejected by civil servants hence the negotiations are continuing. The civil servants are demanding a minimum salary of US$480 or the local currency equivalent.

In an interview yesterday, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima said the Government is committed to improving the welfare of civil servants.

“Government is not stalling anything. Government has stated its position, which is to say that it can offer a 40 percent COLA adjustment and an extension of the US$75 Covid-19 allowance. The unions have rejected the Government offer hence negotiations are continuing,” he said.

Prof Mavima said Government decided to pay COLA as negotiations continue because it is sensitive to the plight of its workers.

Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said COLA was not a product of negotiations and as workers’ representatives they could not stop Government from paying the COLA.

“We can’t stop them from paying their workers because they have the machinery to do so. What is now required is an urgent meeting to finalise this round of negotiations. We have rejected the 40 percent salary increase and we hope Government will come up with a better offer,” she said.

Mrs Alexander said the worker’s position is that Government should pay them salaries that were obtaining in October 2018 when they were being paid US$ salaries. Chronicle

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