Government, civil servants in pay indaba. . .Salary increment offer to be tabled today Dr Vincent Hungwe

Felex Share, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT is today expected to table a cost of living adjustment it is offering to civil servants when it meets their representatives in Harare.

The meeting, to be held under the auspices of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), is also expected to propose a range of non-monetary benefits for Government workers.

These include residential stands, housing mortgages, vehicle loan schemes and access to medical care and insurance cover.

Government officially invited the Apex Council, a body that brings together public staff associations, yesterday.

“We have been invited to the meeting and it will take place at 12pm at Kaguvi Building,” said Apex Council chairwoman Mrs Cecelia Alexander.

The two parties on Monday held a preliminary consultative meeting where Government acknowledged the challenges faced by its employees due to exchange rate and pricing distortions in the market. It indicated its readiness to offer a salary increment.

Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairman Dr Vincent Hungwe said on Monday at the meeting Government would announce the cost of living adjustment on offer and how it would be distributed across grades.

“It will outline the principles that will underpin the allocation of the integrated cost of living adjustment (COLA) announced by Government focusing on the following; the distribution of the COLA across all grades of workers, the proportion of the COLA to be allocated as basic salary and housing and transport allowances and the distribution of the COLA to rural versus urban workers,” he said.

The meeting, he said, would also adopt a common position on the need to adopt a programmatic approach in determining monetary and non-monetary benefits to civil servants in the future.

“It will identify the range of non-monetary benefits, including the provision of land for housing in major towns, cities and growth points, the provisions of residential mortgage schemes and vehicle loans and promoting sustainable access to medical care,” said Dr Hungwe.

“It will also agree on a roadmap to roll out establishment of a public service pension scheme based on a funded and defined benefit modality that is guaranteed by Government to protect contributors and generate input to align the current legislation that guides labour relations in the public sector to the constitution.”

He said input would be solicited on the amendment of the Public Service Act, the establishment of the Public Service Collective Bargaining Council and the creation of Tripartite Negotiating Forum to facilitate dialogue among the social partners.

Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga said they expected any adjustment to cushion the workers from the prevailing economic challenges.

“The Apex Council will approach the make or break NJNC meeting with the anticipation that Government will address the major concerns that civil servants brought to the attention of the Ministers on Monday, which concerns Government agreed were real,” he said.

“We expect Government to come up with a cost of living adjustment package that restores our buying power to the period before October 2018. Further to that, there is a need for an upward review of our transport and accommodation allowances which have gone up four-fold.

“Government should also offer a comprehensive and authentic package of non-monetary incentives, especially in the areas of housing and vehicle purchases. Civil servants are agitated, distressed and incapacitated by the economic environment in the country. There is a real possibility that they will vote to down tools if no meaningful offer comes from tomorrow’s NJNC meeting.”

President Mnangagwa on Tuesday commended civil servants’ unions for displaying maturity during Monday’s consultative meeting.

The Head of State and Government said he was aware of the difficulties civil servants were going through and the need to adjust their salaries.

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