EDITORIAL COMMENT: Workers should make reasonable demands

28 Jan, 2019 - 00:01 0 Views
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Workers should make reasonable demands Minister Sekesai Nzenza

The Chronicle

Government and civil servants’ representatives are meeting today and the civil servants’ representatives are expected to respond to a $300 million offer tabled by Government negotiators during the last round of talks.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said today’s meeting is also expected to clarify issues around workers’ welfare.

The workers are demanding a $1 733 salary for the least paid worker, up from $414.

The civil servants, who had issued a 14-day strike notice which lapsed last Friday, announced on the same day that they had shelved plans to down tools in favour of dialogue.

The workers ruled out a premature strike saying they were yet to exhaust negotiating channels.

The Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander said the civil servants had not yet declared a strike and as such were meeting Government today.

She however said as workers they expected Government to have improved on its offer of $300 million.

The $300 million is to be shared by civil servants as an increment from April to December.

In an effort to continuously improve the welfare of civil servants, Government has already embarked on various monetary and non-monetary incentives including provision of transport and affordable housing schemes.

Workers in the private sector have also called for the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum to address the workers’ salaries issue.

The workers’ unions have said the prevailing unrealistic pricing regime across all sectors of the economy have eroded the workers’ salaries and most of them were now struggling to even pay for transport to work.

Government has agreed to convene a TNF meeting this week in an effort to resolve issues confronting both business and labour.

The workers have said they urgently need a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). We want at this juncture to appeal to both civil servants and workers in the private sector to take into account the prevailing economic realities as they negotiate with their employers.

The employers can only pay salaries they can afford hence the importance of workers to consider the issue of affordability as they negotiate for better salaries.

Government is implementing austerity measures which compel the nation to forgo some luxuries for some time in order to turn around the economy.

Government has to cut expenditure and as such cannot pay a high wage bill.

The tightening of belts means reduced salaries for both the public and the private sector workers.

President Mnangagwa has already warned the nation that the road to recovery would be bumpy in some cases hence the need for people to be patient.

Businesses on their part should revert to proper pricing system as opposed to profiteering.

There is a need for businesses to uphold business ethics and stop the price hike madness witnessed during the past few months.

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