via 5-day ultimatum for civil servants | The Herald December 11, 2013
PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Cde Nicholas Goche has given civil servants a five-day ultimatum to resolve their leadership wrangles and submit their official list of negotiators to the Government. The ultimatum follows divisions that have stalled negotiations between Government and its employees over salary increments.
In a statement after a meeting with the staff associations yesterday Minister Goche said a new list outlining the structure of the Apex Council should be submitted before negotiations that are set to resume on Monday.
“The Minister gave the staff associations a five-day ultimatum within which to resolve the leadership crisis and submit their official list of negotiators to Government. This list of negotiators is to be submitted in terms of the provisions of Statutory Instrument 141 of 1997. The above position was agreed to by the staff associations.
“The list must clearly indicate the team leader, substantive and alternate negotiators. The Government team of negotiators is already in place and awaits the appointment of an Apex Council so that the negotiations can commence. The Minister is calling for a meeting on 16 December 2013 with the staff associations whether a list has been submitted or not,” Minister Goche said in the statement.
Civil servants have been divided over the number of seats allocated to each union in the Apex Council, the umbrella body that represents Government employees in salary negotiations.
The Apex Council comprises of members drawn from the Zimbabwe Teachers Association — the largest civil service union — the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, the College Lecturers Association and the Public Service Association that represents other Government employees outside the education sector.
Civil Service Unions are required to submit a list of nine negotiators to Government but have been squabbling over the number of seats each association occupies in the Apex Council
In the initial list signed by the unions, Zimta was given three seats, PTUZ and TUZ got one negotiator each while the Public Service Association had four negotiators.
This prompted Colaz to submitt a new list of negotiators and got support from PTUZ and the TUZ resulting in the current impasse.
The two unions now want Zimta to surrender one of the seats to Colaz but the former has refused arguing that as the largest body it is entitled to the number of representatives it has on the Apex Council.
Civil servants are looking forward to a salary increment in January after they failed to get any joy during the tenure of the inclusive Government.
Currently the lowest paid employee gets US$297 while the poverty datum line is pegged at around US$570.