Civil servants table US$ salary demand  

Sindiso Mhlophe

CIVIL servants yesterday tabled their demand to be paid in United States dollars before the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), the Daily News reports.

This comes as the government recently awarded them a 50 percent salary adjustment and introduced a monthly US$75 Covid-19 allowance. The allowance would be for three months.
The NJNC is made up of government representatives and civil servants bodies under the Apex Council.
In an interview after the NJNC met in the capital yesterday, Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said the meeting was adjourned to a date to be advised after civil servants insisted that their remuneration should be entirely in hard currency.
“During the deliberations, the government presented the cushioning arrangements offered by his Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) in light of the prevailing economic situation induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The workers applauded the gesture, but noted that the economy had dollarised.
“They accordingly requested that their salaries be paid wholly in US dollars based on October 2018 salaries. The meeting agreed to reconvene and further deliberate on the proposal after consultations,” Alexander said.
In October 2018, the least paid civil servant earned close to US$500.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), with a membership of over 18 000 across the country, yesterday said its members would continue with their strike to press for better remuneration.
Zina also appealed to nurses who have been reporting to work to join the strike, saying that the government has not demonstrated any commitment to address their incapacitation.
This comes as nurses across the country recently downed tools over poor remuneration.
In a letter addressed to all members, Zina said the government had remained mute on its intentions to address the plight of nurses and other health workers who were incapacitated owing to poor remuneration and the country’s
worsening economic crisis.
“The government’s lack of action and more importantly the refusal to engage the membership on the on-going job action suggests to us that it has still not accepted that its workers are incapacitated. Had it so accepted, urgent steps to address this situation would have been taken the moment we advised it of our intention to withdraw labour.
“Having discussed this with the association executive, we hereby call upon every nurse from those working at a rural clinic in the most remote parts of the country all the way to those working at the central hospitals to immediately adhere to the following; for those who have not been going to work, continue withholding your labour and to those who have been subsiding our employer by going to work mostly because you have an alternative source of income, we call upon you to reconsider this and withdraw your labour as well.
 “We remain hopeful that government is going to consider just how incapacitated we are and engage us to address this issue,” Zina said.
The nurses’ union further indicated that its call comes at a time when prices of basic commodities have soared beyond the reach of many as retailers were pricing their goods at the black market rate.
 “While the government would not want us to make reference to the parallel market rate, we have no choice but to refer to it because it is our lived experience. It is the rate we are faced with when we have to transact, even in established supermarkets.
“To put this into perspective, if one is to walk into a supermarket today with $1 000, being one third of the majority of nurses’ salaries, one would only be able to buy 2 litres cooking oil, 2kg sugar, 2 litres of drink, 2kg of rice and two loaves of bread.
“Despite the above, a nurse still has to pay rent, school fees, medical fees and other essentials items. Therefore, the reality which any reasonable person will accept is that we are incapacitated from attending work even if we wanted to,” Zina said.

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