THE government has requested that its meeting with the Apex Council that had been scheduled for yesterday to deliberate on the civil servants remuneration be moved to today to allow further consultations.
This comes as teachers have been on strike since schools reopened in September demanding better working conditions. Apex Council secretary-general David Dzatsunga told the Daily News yesterday that civil servants were expecting that their employer would bring a better offer on the table.
“We expect that they are calling us on the basis that they now have an offer that will go a long way in addressing the incapacitation that we have always been talking about. “They told us that they wanted to consult further and we accepted that the meeting be moved to tomorrow (today). We eagerly wait to hear what they have as an improved offer,” Dzatsunga said.
Today’s National Joint Negotiating Council meeting is a make-or -break one as there is likelihood that a deadlock would be declared if an agreement is not reached. In labour relations, when an employer and a union reach a deadlock in the negotiations over mandatory subjects of bargaining, the duty to negotiate is suspended and the employer is permitted to unilaterally implement the terms of its final proposal.
Civil servants were recently paid a 40 percent cost-of-living salary adjustment which they started receiving last month, while negotiations continued. The adjustment was in addition to the continuation of the US$75 a month Covid-19 allowance they started receiving in June.
The adjustment means that currently, a newly-qualified teacher, for example, earns $12 591,15, while the least paid civil servant earns $11 350,15, inclusive of the US$75 Covid-19 allowance.
The NJNC meeting comes amid divisions rocking teachers’ unions with some accusing the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) leadership of having a “secret” meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.