Government workers are pushing for their salaries to be increased by at least 200% or pegged to the greenback citing the rising cost of living due to high inflation which has eroded their earnings.
The civil servants’ umbrella body, the Apex Council, said government workers were earning an average of ZWL$33 000 per month, which is insufficient.
“We are expecting a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting from any time this week where we are going to table our demands in line with the obtaining situation on the ground, “Apex Council secretary David Dzatsunga told Business Times.
He added: “Our salaries of just above ZWL$30 000 are no longer viable. What we want is for the government to increase our salaries to match the cost-of-living basket which is around ZWL$100 000. If the authorities are not comfortable with that they should give us our pre-October 2018 salaries of US$520 per month to match inflationary pressures that have eroded our salaries,” he said.
The knock off effects of the Russia -Ukraine war has pushed up global fuel prices resulting in the increase of basic commodities in both US$ and local currency.
Some workers now want an average of US$600 per month from the pre-2018 salary of US$520 per month due to a volatile environment that saw basic goods and services going up in both currencies.
Edible oil prices have gone up to US$2000 per tonne from US$950 in 2020, resulting in cooking oil hikes.
A two-litre bottle of cooking oil has increased to US$4.50 from US$3.30 a year ago.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima confirmed the NJNC meeting where “we are going to see if there is a need for a review of their salaries”.
The government increased workers’ salaries in February this year but civil servants believe the rate of adjustments was not matching the inflationary trends.
“Given the current inflationary trends, adjustments have to come on a monthly basis to match the volatility on the market.
“If they cannot afford to do that, we need US$ salaries as proposed earlier,” an NJNC member who preferred anonymity said.
Meanwhile, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has implored employers in the private sector to copy the government and cushion their employees.
Labour unions say Zimbabwean workers are heavily taxed as they push for a review in taxes.
Speaking to Business Times Ncube played down the issue of taxes saying they were very fair but blamed the situation on the purchasing power.
“‘I don’t think the tax rates are too high, regionally they are fair but the issue is of purchasing power rather than taxes. For civil servants we have acted as the government in terms of teachers, nurses and everyone who is employed,” Ncube said.
“We introduced a package with monetary and non-monetary benefits. We have also upgraded the basic salaries and introduced allowances for school fees among other benefits including the US$175 hard currency in full. We expect the private sector industry to also follow suit and equally support their employees.”