Zim risks ILO rap over salaries



Civil servants have threatened to approach the International Labour organisation (ILO) should government fail to adhere to their salary demands, Business Times can report.

The salary increment negotiations between civil servants and the government have reached a deadlock after the employer failed to restore the salaries to match the pre-October 2018 levels in which employees earned an average of US$475 per month.

Apex Council deputy secretary general Gibson Mushangu said civil service representatives have alerted the government of their plans to approach ILO.

“We have come up with a strong roadmap which will bring a long lasting solution to the whole salary saga. We have written a letter to the secretary in the public service department concerning salary hike,” Mushangu said.

He added: “If that bid falls apart, we will approach the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on labour and social welfare. If the committee fail to come up with a strong solution we will then take the matter to ILO and the labour organisation will guide us what to do from then.”

Government workers have insisted that salaries should be restored to the pre-October 2018 levels.

Government workers earned about US$520 per month, which is about ZWL$44,200 using this week’s auction rate of ZWL$85: US$1.

However, the lowest paid government worker was getting the equivalent of US$475 or ZWL$40,375 using the official rate.

But, government offered salary increases which the civil servants have described as inconsequential.

In contrast, government’s latest offer gave the lowest paid workers about ZWL$19 000, which is equivalent to US$224.

Government workers rejected the offer saying prices of goods and services continue to skyrocket while their salaries were stagnant.

The monthly basket for a low income earners for a family of six has now shot up to ZWL$40 000 worsening the plight of civil servants.

Mushangu said as long as the government does not pay dollarisation salaries, the paycheque will not be sufficient.

“It has never been okay. It has never been sufficient. We have been calling for an increase since then and understand that the government is not moving towards our target that we agreed to in our last meeting in November 2018,” he said.

Apex Council said the value of their salaries was being eroded by rising prices of goods and services.

Mushangu said the government has to address the salary issue as a matter of urgency which has to speak and respond to the situation on the ground.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has in the past said government remained the employer of choice.

But, the government workers believe they are the most “disadvantaged lot”.

“Civil servants always implore the government to come on board where we meet and discuss matters with tangible evidence that we are the most disadvantaged workforce in the country and in the region.

“We do not hesitate to give them evidence because ours is not an issue that is technical, but it is an issue that anyone, even a layman can tell,” Mushangu said.

He added: “We do not mind having a round table with them and prove to them that they are illinformed about the situation on the ground.”

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mavima, said the government was doing its best to cater for the civil servants.

“Under the current circumstances we are trying our level best but we shall continue engaging the Apex Council to reach common ground,”Mavima said.

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