SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE government will extend its payment of a monthly US$75 coronavirus allowance to civil servants up to the end of the year, the Daily News reports.
This comes after Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube announced recently that the government was in talks with its employees, with a view to improving their remuneration and other conditions of service.
“They (the government) are going to give us the allowance to December. We told them that if they were to remove the allowance it would be disastrous for the worker.
“The government agreed and extended the allowance to December,” Apex Council secretary-general, David Dzatsunga, said yesterday.
The council is the umbrella body for civil servants’ unions. Yesterday, it met with the government under the auspices of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) — where the employees pressed for the continuation of the allowance.
The government introduced the three-month allowance in June this year, whereupon it was also extended to State pensioners who were given US$30.
The allowance was introduced at a time when civil servants were demanding their salaries in hard currency, arguing then that the prices of goods and services were skyrocketing.
Besides agreeing on the allowance, yesterday’s NJNC meeting still ended in a deadlock on salary negotiations.
“The meeting has just ended and negotiations were inconclusive. We pinned our arguments on the restoration of our salaries’ purchasing value as of October 2018, whilst the government had its own offer which we argued did not suffice.
“After further deliberations and concessions, it was further agreed that the government team would consult their principals and that we would convene again on Monday or Friday,” Dzatsunga said.
Efforts to get a comment from Labour minister Paul Mavima last night were unsuccessful.
Civil servants are demanding to be paid a minimum of US$550 a month, which is equivalent to what they were getting in October 2017.
Recently, teachers’ unions said if the government failed to address the issue of their salaries and their multiple concerns on Covid-19 measures, they would not go back to work when examination classes open next week.
Schools were closed in March, shortly before President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a national coronavirus lockdown.