Saturday, January 12, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) No pay hike for civil servants

No pay hike for civil servants
11/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

STATE employees are considering strike action accusing the government of taking advantage of a leadership dispute in their ranks to delay a pay hike Treasury promised would be effected this month.

Soldiers received their January salaries on Thursday without the inflation-adjusted increment announced by Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his 2013 budget statement.
The Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said the development had hit morale as members returned to work for the new school term.

"Most of our members opened schools anticipating that something would come up and obviously morale will be down on hearing that there is nothing for them,” a union official said.

Acting Public Service Secretary Rodgers Sisimayi said the government had no one to negotiate the increment with after a leadership wrangle rocked the Apex Council which represents state workers in wage negotiations.
The Council’s term of office expired in February last year and the unions have failed to agree a new committee.

Said Sisimayi: “The problem is that the Apex Council has failed to come up with a new leadership since last year yet salaries and updates are announced through a platform called the National Joint Negotiating Council.

“This is a platform that brings to the negotiating table workers side and Government negotiators, but as it stands, there is no way Government can communicate.”

Government lawyers are still considering a request by unions to negotiate with the old committee led by Zimbabwe Teachers Association president, Tendai Chikowore.

“We acknowledge receipt of their letter requesting that we engage the old committee. We are looking at the legal implications of such a move and we will notify them in due course what we would have resolved,” Sisimayi said.
Union leaders however, threatened to go on strike over the impasse.

“This is an insult and Government is setting a terrible precedent,” said College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe President David Dzatsunga.

“It means we are never taken seriously, but what they should know is that some unions are mobilising their members for a possible industrial action.”

Chikowore added: ““There is a breakdown of social dialogue and they might have seen our weaknesses and decided to go quiet.

“We are going to meet and make sure we unite as we move forward.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe boss Raymond Majongwe said the unions would meet Tuesday to consider strike action.
“Somebody out there is pushing us to go and strike and this is one issue we will put into consideration come Tuesday," he said.

The lowest paid government employee earns US$296 per month and unions are demanding an adjustment in line with the poverty datum line which is estimated at about US$600.

But Biti says the government does not have the resources to meet the Unions’ demands with the state wage bill already accounting for 68 percent of overall expenditure.

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