Civil servants give ultimatum

The civil servants marched from Rotten Row and ended at Kaguvi Building where they were addressed by Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro. Starting as a small group, the numbers stea-dily grew as colleagues joined in the march.The singing and dancing by the Government workers was largely peaceful with no reports of ugly incidents.
They, however, returned to their stations as soon as they were addressed by Minister Muko-noweshuro.
In his address, Minister Mukonoweshuro said Government was aware of their importance.
“Everything possible has been done and I want to say some of the processes are at an advanced stage.
“It is not true that Government is not genuine in its response to the workers’ plight,” he said.
He said Government would next week convene a Joint Negotiating Council meeting.
“I want to promise you that the council is going to meet next week, discuss and an announcement will be made to you soon after that meeting,” he said.
In an interview, Apex Council chairperson Mrs Tendai Chikowore hailed Government’s response to the march.
“We are happy that the minister came and addressed us . . . It shows that Government is committed to addressing our problems.”
Mrs Chikowore, however, said the council would make a follow-up through the negotiating forum.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the Government should address their grievances by next month.
“We expect Government to have addressed our concerns by October 30.
“We know that they have the money, they have sold diamonds on two occasions. Pay us an amount that can help us sustain our living conditions,” he said.
Civil servants early this month threatened to down tools, accusing the Government of failing to respond to their invitation to meet and negotiate salaries.
They urged the Government to honour its promises to address their salaries once diamond sales had been conducted.
Zimbabwe has had two successful diamond auctions.
Civil servants are reportedly moonlighting to augment their salaries which were frozen earlier this year.
Ironically, the civil servants’ calls for a salary review have received the backing of workers in the private sector, who feel their employers are taking advantage of the civil service salary freeze to deny them a pay rise.
Civil servants earn an average of US$150 a month.

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