Felex Share, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT yesterday further increased its salary offer to civil servants from 15 to 17,5 percent in a move that saw the employer and workers negotiators finally finding common ground and putting pen to paper.
Negotiations for a further salary review will however, continue with other non-monetary incentives being considered.
This is the second time in as many weeks that Government has upped its salary offer to the workers, having last week tabled 15 percent from the initial 10 percent.
The two parties met yesterday under the National Joint Negotiating Council and came up with an agreement after more than four hours.
Apex Council chairwoman Mrs Cecelia Alexander confirmed the development.
“The Apex Council had a meeting with the Government today (yesterday) at Livingstone House in Harare to iron out outstanding issues,” she said.
“After a protracted meeting which almost took the negotiations to their knees, the two sides later agreed on the Government’s latest offer of 17,5 percent as a special civil service salary that covers basic salary, housing and transport allowances. It will be paid to the members of the civil service with effect from July 2018.”
A memorandum of agreement signed by the two sides states that the concessions were made after taking “cognisant of the state of the economy.”
“It was agreed that cash-in-lieu of vacation leave in excess of 123 days maximum accrual for teachers be paid on a staggered basis from July to December 2018,” reads the agreement.
“It was agreed that rentals at institutional accommodation be aligned to appropriate levels of members’ housing allowance and members’ appropriate grade be implemented with effect July 2018. Government undertook to revisit and review the rental framework for accommodation at institutions like training centres and schools as such accommodation is tied to duties.”
The vacation leave days being paid for came after Government rescinded its decision to bar teachers from going on vacation leave.
Government deferred vacation leave for teachers in 2016 as a cost-cutting measure.
The employer argued that it did not have the resources to pay relief teachers for the months substantive educators would be on vacation.
It was also agreed yesterday that a collective bargaining council be established this year.
Cabinet has already approved principles on the amendment of the Public Service Act to allow civil servants to engage in collective bargaining.