Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Apex council has said it would be approaching Government for an emergency meeting to negotiate for better salaries for civil servants as their incomes have been eroded by price hikes.
In January, Government increased civil servants’ salaries by between 133 and 177 percent, a development that resulted in the lowest-paid worker earning $2 500 per month with the highest paid getting $4 631.
Apex council, which is the umbrella body for all civil servants said their salaries have been eroded by inflation.
In an interview, Apex council secretary general Mr David Dzatsunga said recent developments that have seen the prices of goods and services going up means that an emergency meeting with Government must be convened to discuss issues relating to their welfare.
He said they would be approaching Government this week.
“We should now be getting into another round of negotiations to find a way of restoring the value that has been lost. That is a lot of value actually. As we have indicated earlier, we hope that Government will be able to talk about matching the value of wages to exchange rates,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
“This is a demand that we have made. We are not happy about that after our last round of negotiations we agreed that it (salary hikes) should be an agreement that is premised on what happens in the market and we hope and I think we will be making overtures to Government to come to the table.”
He said employees feel that the meeting must be held as a matter of urgency considering what is obtaining in the economy.
“This is a development that happened very fast and we believe that it is high time we reach out to them and ask for an emergency meeting,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
Prior to the January pay hike, some civil servants unions had declared incapacitation to go to work.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government was committed to addressing the plight of its employees.
“I must say that we continue to support our civil servants on the issue of their perks and living standards and we have negotiated to increase their salaries by 140 percent so far. I have been before this House to say that we always stand ready to keep negotiating and cushioning our civil servants,” said Prof Ncube.
He said the Public Service Commission would introduce a loan scheme for civil servants that will enable them to borrow at low interest rates as opposed to what they are getting from some loan sharks. — @nqotshili