Wage disparities rile govt workers  

PUBLIC sector workers have reacted angrily to glaring discrepancies in their salaries, amid claims that the security sector is getting more than the other government employees, the Daily News reports.
However, Public Service minister Paul Mavima says the money that has been received by all civil servants this week is part of a “compassionate gesture” by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This comes as the government is due to start paying improved salaries to civil servants, following last month’s decision to hike their pay by 50 percent.
Apart from the 50 percent pay hike, public sector workers have also been awarded US$75 coronavirus cushioning allowances for three months.
But when their salaries were deposited into their bank accounts this week, civil servants said they had discovered serious discrepancies of between $1 000 and $6 000.
As a result, the Apex Council — which represents all public sector workers except those in the security sector — warned authorities yesterday that its members would take matters into their hands in the light of this development.
“We are deeply concerned about the development because we are not aware what the money is for. What we expected is the 50 percent increase that we were promised, as well as the US$75 allowance.
“But considering the variations in the amounts — where the police, army and prison services got up to $6 000, while the rest of the civil servants got $1 000 — we are convinced that it is money that needs to be explained,” Apex Council national organising secretary, Charles Chinosengwa, told the Daily News.
“Anger is bubbling under and we are not responsible for whatever civil servants will do from now on … Such discrimination is unacceptable.
“Besides, we are not interested in the meagre increment because we have told the employer that we will not discuss anything to do with the local currency when it comes to our remuneration.
“We are clear that we want payment in US dollars given that the country has re-dollarised,” Chinosengwa said further.
However, Mavima told the Daily News that the money that civil servants had received was part of the “compassionate gesture” by Mnangagwa to show the government’s commitment to improving its employees’ conditions of service.
“What we are waiting for now is to see how we can start paying them the US$75 which they will access by swiping from their Nostro accounts.
“I know that their banks have since processed these accounts free of charge. However, I don’t know about what the army and the police got because they do not fall under my purview. I am responsible for other civil servants,” Mavima told the Daily News.
Last month, the government announced a flat non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$75 for civil servants, while also increasing their salaries by 50 percent.
The lowest paid government worker earns about $3 000 before deductions.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), the monthly low-income urban family budget for a family of six rose to $8 725 last month — up from $4 378 in January.
All this comes as the country is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade.
The ginormous crisis has stirred anger among long-suffering Zimbabweans who are being mobilised to take part in mass demonstrations organised by the opposition at the end of this month.

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