SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE government and civil servants will meet on Monday after the public employees yesterday asked for time to consult on the 40 percent salary increment offer they described as “improved”, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the government employees had initially rejected the offer when it was announced on Tuesday by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa after a Cabinet meeting.
Speaking to the Daily News after the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU), formerly the Apex Council, David Dzatsunga said they had agreed with the government to adjourn the meeting to Monday to further consult constituencies on the improved offer by the employer.
“Since the figures are yet to be finalised to the satisfaction of either party, it will be premature to disclose the quantum except to say there has been some tangible progress in the discussions,” Dzatsunga said.
No official comment could be obtained from the government as Public Service minister Paul Mavima was not picking up calls.
However, government sources privy to what transpired during the NJNC meeting yesterday told the Daily News that civil servants were cornered by their employer amid threats to declare a deadlock.
“The employees had no option, but to accept the 40 percent offer because the government side had declared before the meeting that this was their final offer.
“This meant that if civil servants had decided to dig in, a deadlock would have been declared, meaning that whatever was on offer was final, hence any industrial action afterwards would be declared illegal,” the source said.
In labour relations when an employer and a union reach a deadlock in negotiations, the talks are suspended and an employer is permitted to unilaterally implement the terms of its final proposal.
The increase, which takes effect from November 1, will see the lowest paid civil servant earning $14 528 a month.
It also means that the least paid teacher would now get $18 237 a month, with all educators being given an extra 10 percent of their salaries as risk allowance.
Before yesterday’s meeting, Dzatsunga’s deputy, Gibson Mushangu, had described the increment as unacceptable.
“We still reiterate that nothing is for us without us. The government just imposed the figures. Unfortunately, this figure comes before the NJNC meeting set for Friday. We are not there to just rubber-stamp the government’s offer.”
Before the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar, civil servants were earning about US$520 a month.