Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Apex Council has requested an urgent National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting tomorrow, to map a way forward on salaries that correspond with the continuously escalating cost of living.
The council, which represents all civil servants wrote to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and also demanded salaries indexed to the interbank rate.
“The Apex Council requests the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to convene an urgent NJNC meeting on or before October 9, 2019 to map the way forward on continuous escalating cost of living.
“The council also wishes to bring to the attention of the ministry that it maintains its demand of salaries payment to be indexed to interbank rate, basing on the salary scale of October 2018,” reads the letter.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Mr Richard Gundane said it was important for the Government to adjust salaries monthly considering high inflation in the country.
“We are pressing for a new round of talks following the recent spike in prices of goods and services.
“The price increases rendered the cost of living adjustments (COLA) a non-event. Teachers are worse off after the COLA.
“In this hyperinflationary environment, monthly adjustments would assist in closing the gap between salaries and prices. Government should, as a matter of urgency, also ensure that its workers have access to cash from the banks. There is more value in cash than alternative ways of transacting,” said Mr Gundane.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza could not comment on the issue yesterday, saying she needed to speak to the NJNC chairman first.
In August, Government increased civil servants’ salaries by 76 percent, a development that saw the lowest paid worker earning $1 023 up from $582.
Civil servants were demanding at least $4 750 for the lowest paid worker.
Prices of basic commodities have continued to increase, pushing the prices beyond the reach of many.
Apart from the various monetary incentives to cushion the civil servants, Government has promised to offer non-monetary incentives.
The Apex Council’s request comes when the Ministry of Health and Child Care brokered a deal with striking doctors by offering them a 60 percent increase in allowances and ordered all health workers to report to work or face disciplinary action for breaching their contracts.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the Health Services Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP) agreed to a 60 percent increase on Health Specific Allowances despite the doctors walking out on the negotiations demanding a higher percentage.
The 60 percent was an improvement on the previous offer by Government of 30 percent, which was rejected by the Health Apex Council. — @pamelashumba1