Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
CIVIL servants have called on the Government to set a framework that safeguards the value of salaries following the latest adjustments that have triggered significant price increases.
Government last month increased civil servants’ salaries by a massive 76 percent, a development that saw the lowest paid worker earning $1 023 up from $582.
However, the development saw prices of basic commodities being increased by up to 100 percent last week, thereby pushing the prices beyond the reach of many.
Apex Council president, Mrs Cecilia Alexander, called on the Government to intervene and to protect civil servants.
She said while they appreciated Government’s efforts to improve their conditions of service they were concerned about the tendency by the business sector to hike prices immediately after salaries are increased.
“What is happening in the market is unacceptable and Government must step in. When civil servants receive increments, prices of basic commodities and services shoot up.
“Retailers and service providers don’t even care how much increment was received, they simply review their prices upwards,” said Mrs Alexander.
She said the price increases were defeating the purpose of them receiving salary increments.
She added that salary negotiations between the Government and the Apex Council would continue, with the civil servants’ umbrella body expecting salaries that match the prevailing exchange rates.
“We didn’t conclude the salary negotiations. We don’t have dates yet but we’ll continue and we hope that the Government will consider our requests.
“Our position is that salaries should be matched by the current interbank market rates because all prices have gone up by that factor,” said Mrs Alexander. Last month, civil servants pegged their demand at $4 750 for the least paid worker but Government offered $1 023 and agreed to come back to the negotiating table.
Apart from the various monetary incentives to cushion the civil servants, Government introduced non-monetary incentives such as affordable medical aid and pension schemes and housing facilities.—@pamelashumba1