Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
CIVIL servants yesterday welcomed the cost of living adjustment announced by the Government on Wednesday.
They, however, said Government should periodically review their salaries and conditions of service as they are fast eroded by inflation and wanton price hikes pushed by parallel market foreign currency exchange rates.
This follows the announcement of a $400 million cost of living adjustment package ranging from 13 percent to 29 percent, depending on grades.
Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga said they were happy with the salary increment which took effect on April 1.
“As you would know, it’s an agreement that was signed by the Apex Council at the National Joint Negotiating Council of which we deliberated on and thought that it was the best foot forward and that I’m sure if you read it through you will discover that there is a plea that we will continually go back to review when necessary to do such as far as performance of the economy and welfare of civil servants is concerned,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
“So in that respect we feel at the moment that’s the best that can be done. We have no complaints whatsoever as far as that is concerned as that is against the backdrop that we will continually review the conditions of service and salaries.”
He said there is need for another review in June as agreed due to the high inflationary environment.
“It was favourable enough but like I said there is scope for review in June and we have to work with that, nobody cannot argue with the fact that it’s not enough but it’s something,” he said.
“We hope that if Government is sincere, if the inflationary pressures that we are seeing now are anything to go by, then there might be need for another sit down so that we can review those figures”.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said they were expecting a 34 percent salary hike.
“Our expectation would have been if they had reached at least 34 percent then we would have neared to reality but as things turn now we still remain subdued. We mainly take solace in the fact that there was some movement but that movement was not adequate. That must be said and clearly understood by society that nobody can survive on less than 1 700 RTGS right now,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He urged Government to review salaries periodically saying the current salary increment had already been hit by the cross rating of RTGS to USD which had seen prices of basic commodities sky rocketing.
“We need to review on shorter periods than six month periods. If we wait for June it means somebody must subsidize us and who is affected, it’s the workers.
So if we take long with such a gap we are brewing obvious conflict. So there shouldn’t be too much a long time before we re-engage in order to bridge the gap,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said Apex council was asking for a minimum of 1 700RTGS and that has not been granted.
“When they were making their submissions in January they were asking for 1 700RTGS being the basic a teacher was supposed to get.
“PTUZ was asking for 3 056RTGS but now when the salaries for the lowest paid are $580 and we are wondering what could have happened because inflation has eaten up this increment even before we have gotten it,” he said.
He proposed that Government should review the remuneration of workers soon and give them land as well.
“They are supposed to give us land in lieu of the salary increment. The reason why we need land is we must take care of our needs when we retire and housing is the critical one. If Government is serious let them give land to civil servants at low cost then we can start talking,” he said.—@AuxiliaK