Tawanda Musarurwa, Harare Bureau
Government is set to increase civil service salaries, potentially beginning this month-end to cushion them from recent price hikes once a framework to guide the planned pay and benefits rise has been concluded.
The Government has also urged the private sector to increase salaries of their workers to cushion them from the same price hikes.
This was said by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday while addressing delegates at a breakfast meeting on currency reforms in Harare.
Prof Ncube said the prevailing inflationary pressures necessitated that workers’ salaries, including those in the private sector, be reviewed upwards. “I am sure there are a few civil servants in here who are saying now that you have introduced the Zimbabwe dollar, how about our salaries?” said Prof Ncube.
“We are going to deal with that in the next week or so, we are going to make an announcement in terms of a cushioning allowance for civil servants. “And industry can you please follow suit. Some of these companies have been making fantastic profits, you are looking after your shareholders but also look after the employees as well by adjusting their wages so that they can cope with the inflationary pressures.”
Without disclosing figures, Prof Ncube said meetings with the respective unions representing Government workers were set for today to finalise the matter on wage adjustments.
“I have a figure already and I am just waiting to hear from the unions. We will be meeting them tomorrow (today) to hear their figures,” he said.
Once the increase takes effect, it would be a second civil service salary adjustment within three months following the $400 million cost of living adjustment package made in April.
Prof Ncube said the latest wage reviews were being carried out under the auspices of the recently launched Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).
“As you know we launched the Tripartite Negotiating Forum as a way of questioning the social contract as we move forward,” he said.
The TNF Act was gazetted early last month, and is expected to help address some challenges confronting the country, which include the high prices of goods and services.
It is expected that the looming civil service wage review will address the concerns of employees in the health sector.
At the end of May, the Health Service Board said it was convinced that Government was working flat out to address their issues.
The private sector has come under fire for increasing prices for goods and services without paying regard to employee welfare.
Observers said retailers and producers could not immediately increase employee salaries since the extortionate prices kept consumers at bay.