Civil servants still await govt's 'token' salary increment

HARARE - Civil servants’ “token” salary increments promised by President Robert Mugabe in the run up to the July 31 elections have remained a pie in the sky.

The cash strapped government has even failed to pay their employees the 13th cheque before Christmas save for teachers, the police and the army.

David Dzatsunga, chairman of College Lecturers Association, who is also part of the Apex council leadership said while they expected their employer to live up to their promise, they had no power to corner government on the promised token increment since it was never officially communicated to them.

“Really, we have no authority to say government promised us a token salary to appreciate our service. We only read it in the press and the minister has not mentioned it in the numerous meetings we have had with him so far, we just regard it as a mere statement.

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Manuel Nyawo is however on record saying on top of bonuses, they were also expecting the “token increment”.

Yesterday, Mugabe again emphasised on the need to remunerate government employees in line with the poverty datum line currently pegged at $540 — which is the consumer basket for a family of six — the threshold civil servants set in their position paper.

“We must make sure that our employees, the teachers and other civil servants must be paid well although this is not to say they will be paid exaggerated amounts,” said Mugabe addressing his Zanu PF party’s annual conference in Chinhoyi on Friday.

The lowest-paid government worker takes home $297. The civil servants salary bill by end of 2012 was close to $2,6 billion translating to 70 percent of the government’s total revenue collections.

Official salary increment negations between government and civil servants have been stalled by disagreements among civil service groups. 

Public Service minister Nicholas Goche in October said government will effect “a token increment” and bonuses for civil servants before year-end.

Goche said he was still consulting with other ministries on the “token” salary hike.

Civil servants unions are demanding a 100 percent salary hike for their members which if effected, will take the annual salary bill to $5,2   billion for the 230 000 civil servants.

 

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