Saturday, February 20, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) Strikers ... Civil servants march through Harare to demand better pay

Strikers ... Civil servants march through Harare to demand better pay
by Lebo Nkatazo
19/02/2010 00:00:00

THOUSANDS of striking civil servants marched through the streets of Harare before presenting a petition to the Speaker of Parliament and the ministers of Labour and Finance on Friday.

The country’s civil servants, including teachers and health workers, went on strike two weeks ago to demand a minimum wage of US$630, up from the current salaries of below US$200.

The industrial action is the biggest labour revolt since President Robert Mugabe accepted to share power with opposition rivals Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara a year ago.

March leader Tendai Chikoore, president of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union, said the workers have refused the US$15 bonus that the government offered and that the strike will continue until they get their pay raises.

The strike is not politically motivated, Chikoore said.

Protest ... Civil servants demonstrate outside parliament on Friday

The marchers handed a petition signed by 10 unions to Labour Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Speaker Lovemore Moyo, setting a deadline of March 5 for their grievances to be addressed.

The unions said Zimbabwe was “endowed with abundant minerals and other natural wealth” which were “not being exploited for the benefit of the entire population.”

They said they were “determined to ensure that government immediately acts on our concerns by crafting a remedial programme of action to improve working conditions”.

“We severally hereby petition the executive and the legislature to immediately and seriously act on the public service strike; immediately review the remuneration package for public servants as informed by the poverty datum line and urgently review the tariff structures which are currently too high compared to the workers incomes,” reads part of the petition.

There was no immediate reaction from the government which says the strike is illegal.

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