COMMENT: Salary increase shows Government’s commitment to workers’ welfare Dr Sifiso Ndlovu

Government has increased civil servants salaries by 100 percent and increased the forex allowance from US$200 to US$250.

The teachers will be paid an additional US$80 teaching allowance and are also entitled to free primary school education for up to three children. The package for those in the health sector was expected to be concluded yesterday and as such were not included in the US$250 allowance.

Government has said it is committed to continue improving the salaries and working conditions of its employees and the latest adjustments confirm that it is walking the talk.

The review of the salaries and forex allowances is yet another demonstration by Government that it is sensitive to the plight of its workers. The new salaries for those in the security sector are with effect from February 1 while the rest of civil servants will be paid the new salaries as from April 1.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said although the review was a bit exciting, teachers will continue negotiating with the Government for better salaries.

“The review brings excitement to the civil servants and since we were granted US$250 instead of the US$840 we were demanding, we will continue negotiating with the Government with the hope that one day teachers will go to work with smiles knowing that their salaries can cater for most basics given the tough economic times we live in,” said Dr Ndlovu.

Government has said it is paying its workers allowances in forex in order to cushion them from the adverse effects of fluctuations in exchange rates. The rest of civil servants have, however, said they want the new salaries to be paid effective from February as what was done for the security sector. We have said before that engagement between Government and its workers is the only way forward.

It is therefore our hope that the Government and its workers will find each other as negotiations continue. In the past, the country’s detractors used to incite civil servants to down tools as opposed to engaging their employer as they are doing now.

Government, despite the limited forex at its disposal, is spending a portion of it to cushion its workers against inflation, something very few employers in the private sector are doing. Mines and other companies are generating a lot of forex but very few are cushioning their workers by paying a portion of their salaries in forex.

In the past each time new salaries for civil servants were announced, businesses responded by hiking prices of goods and services thereby eroding the salaries.

It is our fervent hope that this time businesses will continue upholding business ethics and refrain from fleecing customers by charging exorbitant prices for goods and services.

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