National News

Don’t come back with ZWL$ offer again, workers tell govt

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Aggrieved civil servants say the government team leaders should not return with another ZWL$ offer at the negotiating table as the currency has weakened requiring weekly salary negotiations.

The  call comes at a time when the workers rejected the government’s 100%  ZWL$ salary increment last week.

The lowest civil servant earns about ZWL$18,000 plus an umbrella allowance of US$175.

The Apex Council secretary David Dzatsunga   told Business Times that workers will not accept any ZWL$ increment.

“We gave the government representatives a position that workers are only accepting US$ salary.

“They said we don’t have a mandate from the principles  to speak to that and they  asked for time to consult. 

“They should just put a mind to it that what can one do with ZWL$, where can you buy, you go to the black market to access US$ as everything now needs forex  for example landlords need hard currency, fuel requires the same, passport and schools hence no need for the local currency offer.

“If we don’t get US$ we are excluded from the economy,” Dzatsunga said.

“We flatly rejected the 100% ZWL$ increment and anything to do with the ZWL$ as it  will not mean anything especially when the authorities say the effective date will be July 1.

“If we negotiate now, by the time that money gets into our account it will not mean anything,” he said.

Another National Joint Negotiating Council meeting is expected  this  week  either today or tomorrow and the outcome will give workers a way forward.

Government workers  are demanding a pre-October 2018 salary level of US$540 a month saying their low salary no longer matches the rising cost of living.

The cost of living for a family of six is now over ZWL$133 000.

“Our government should be considerate as to what a family person can do with ZWL$36 000 in this day and age.

“We just need to have a basic meal, basic shelter, basic clothing and basic education for our children, we don’t want anything except basics,” he said.

According to Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube, the government budgeted a 75% increment for workers in 2022.

But with inflation ravaging, the salaries were eroded, pushing the workers to call for a US$ salary.

“We have learnt that the government seems to be waiting for the mid-term budget presentation to adjust salaries  as we have already received the June salary,” Apex Council said.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima was unavailable for comment as his mobile number went unanswered.

Workers believe the government has enough resources to pay civil servants in US$ despite the central bank governor John Mangudya saying it has no resources to dollarise.

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