Friday, October 18, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Civil servants table their pay demands
24/09/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PUBLIC sector workers opened negotiations with the government on a new pay structure on Tuesday with demands for housing stands and hefty allowances for rural workers.

President Robert Mugabe and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche have both promised an upward pay review for government workers including teachers, soldiers, police officers, nurses and doctors.

Last week, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) invited unions to submit proposals over the new pay structure. The unions met in Harare on Tuesday and consolidated their demands.
The unions want a salary of US$540 for the least paid government worker, currently on US$297.

They also want a rural service allowance to cover mainly teachers, doctors and nurses which will be 30 percent of their pay.

They said in a position paper adopted after their meeting: “We demand that the lowest paid civil servant in B1 Grade be paid a salary equivalent to the current Poverty Datum Line estimated at US$540, broken down as follows: basic salary from US$159 to US$317, housing allowance from US$74 to US$160 and a transport allowance of US$63.

“Seventy percent of Zimbabweans live in the rural areas and the majority of civil service workers work in rural areas too. In order to incentivise, attract and retain civil servants to remain in these difficult areas, we demand that a Rural Service Allowance be pegged at 30 percent of one’s basic salary.

“The majority of civil service workers have no houses of their own and pay heavily in rentals, thus we demand that the government urgently avail land for residential housing for civil service workers.”

Most government workers are currently earning below the taxable threshold since the country adopted the multiple-currency system in 2009 in a bid to fight inflation.

The government has been unable to significantly increase public sector workers’ pay due to a depressed budget owing to less-than-impressive receipts from mining and agriculture.

But Goche last week said looking for resources to fund the promised pay rise was “work in progress”, with proceeds from diamond sales likely to be used to effect the adjustment.

But the government – which has huge financial demands from development sectors of the economy – is unlikely to accede to all the demands by the 230,000-strong civil service, whose pay accounted for more than 73 percent of the total budget in 2012.

Outlining his government programme following his election victory on July 31, Mugabe pledged more investment in infrastructure rehabilitation, with focus on power generation, extensive repairs to the road network and improving water supplies.

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