Paidamoyo Chipunza, Harare Bureau

Health workers became the latest group of civil servants to receive the cushioning allowance of 50 percent of their total package promised by Government, with the rest of workers set to be paid by Friday.

Representatives of health workers and the rest of the civil service, confirmed the development yesterday, but emphasised the need to expedite negotiations on cost of living adjustments (COLA).

Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said Government had honoured its commitment on the cushioning allowance but she restated that it was only a stop-gap measure while a lasting solution was being worked on.

“Although the allowance will cushion employees for the rest of the month, we need to quickly come up with a common understanding going forward,” said Mrs Alexander.

Health Apex spokesperson Dr Peter Magombeya also confirmed and commended Government for honouring its commitment.

“Yes, we received the allowances today (Wednesday) and we commend Government for keeping us close to our patients but we are still looking forward to a better offer for the cost of living adjustment,” said Dr Magombeya.

Government recently committed to pay civil servants a cushioning allowance of 50 percent of their salaries, including allowances, a percentage that saw the least paid getting at least $400.

Retailers and manufacturers have recently been pushing up prices of goods and services in line with the foreign currency exchange rates on the parallel market.

Government said it wants to go beyond paying a cushioning allowance to its workers and is already working on addressing issues such as access to medical drugs, transport and housing.

Negotiations on the general cost of living adjustments covering period between August and December are expected to commence soon.
Briefing journalists during a post Cabinet meeting in Harare on Tuesday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza confirmed that all civil servants will receive cushioning allowance this month.

Minister Nzenza commended the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Act and the existence of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), which she said has enabled the creation of a social platform whereby voices of workers, employers and Government are heard.

She said through the two platforms, Government will continue with negotiations on the socio-economic issues, thereby limiting chances of employees “going into the streets”.

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