Saturday, 20 March 2021

75% PAY RISE FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

GOVERNMENT will table an improved 75 percent salary increment offer for civil servants when negotiations for a new pay deal resume this week. Cabinet has approved a staggered 75 percent pay increment offer for civil servants, with authorities ready to effect a 25 percent salary bump this month, which will be followed by a 50 percent pay increase in June.

Public sector worker representatives rejected the initial 25 percent during the last round of negotiations a fortnight ago before the talks adjourned to allow for consultations.

The National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) — the body under which the Government discusses conditions of service with its workers — is expected to convene this week for the latest round of talks.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima told The Sunday Mail that the Government was currently in a position to only offer a 25 percent salary increment.

“We are still consulting within the Government to see how best we can handle the situation with workers. I will be briefing Cabinet on the situation soon,” said Minister Mavima.

“But what we are offering, which is what Cabinet has also agreed to, is that we give them a 75 percent salary increment between now and June. “The 25 percent will come now and the 50 percent in June.

“So we will be having our NJNC meeting soon and we will know then if they accept it or not, but we are positive.”

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) secretary-general Mr David Dzatsunga said the Government was yet to communicate its latest offer.

“Well the latest offer has not yet been communicated to us officially, but we always consult with our members first should such an offer be tabled,” said Mr Dzatsunga. “What we have always said is that we have not yet reached a point of industrial action, we are giving dialogue a chance and we are still in negotiations with the Government.

“For now, we are waiting for the Government to come up with a better offer than the 25 percent they came up with the last time.

“Our only misgiving is that the Government is taking too long to come up with another offer yet workers are genuinely incapacitated.”

The latest offer will come as teachers go back to school under Phase Two of schools’ opening, which covers all classes that are not sitting for public examinations this year. Examination classes opened without incident last week amid fears of industrial action by some teacher unions.

Worker representatives have been demanding implementation of Covid-19 safety protocols and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for teachers when schools open, aside from their salary increment demands.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communication and advocacy, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said all was set for the opening of schools under Phase Two. He said the Government had acquired enough PPE for teachers and staff.

“We have had a successful opening week with both teachers and pupils reporting for classes,” Mr Ndoro said.

“Preparations for the second phase opening are going on quite well. We are still in negotiations with teachers pertaining their remuneration and the larger teacher unions have indicated that their members will attend classes while negotiations go on.

“Vaccination of teachers has already started and the process is also going on quite well.” Zimbabwe Teachers Association (zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said teachers were ready to return to work.

“We know that the mindset of the educators and the mindset of the learners is geared towards education,” said Dr Ndlovu during a programme on ZTN Television last week. “In our consultations with union members, we have found it very necessary to have the in-person learning resuscitated in our schools despite the numerous challenges that are still there.

“So, yes we are ready as teachers and pupils, our mindset is geared for the opening, but there are a lot of things which are still required for us to have an ideal environment.

“We still need to do a wide distribution of PPE especially for rural schools as well as giving teachers’ demands serious attention.

“We want to continue putting in strategies that will motivate both the learner and teacher so we can go to work while the Government is addressing our concerns.” Sunday Mail

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