via Govt fails to bankroll civil servants pay rise – DailyNews Live by Mugove Tafirenyika 11 FEBRUARY 2014
Government’s pledge to increase civil servants’ salaries appears to be a pie in the sky as it emerges that the increment has not been effected as promised.
The civil servants were expected to receive their February salaries backdated to last month, according to a pay deal they struck with government, but they will have to wait a little longer as government has reneged on the promise.
Some civil servants, including members of the uniformed forces whose pay date is today, have received pay advice slips that do not reflect any increment.
Nicholas Goche, the minister of Public Service, confirmed that government employees were supposed to receive their salaries reflecting the increment this month.
Goche said he was not sure why the salaries had not been effected and promised to give a clear position after meeting with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and the chairman of the Public Service Commission Mariyawanda Nzuwa.
“We have said civil servants will receive their salaries this month backdated to January. I am not sure why it has not been effected.
“I will call you back after meeting with the minister of Finance today (yesterday),” Goche said.
He was not picking up his phone thereafter when the Daily News followed up on the matter.
Government and civil servants’ representatives last month agreed on a salary deal that was expected to see the lowest paid staffer getting three quarters of the Poverty Datum Line which they set at $505.
Another salary review was expected mid-year while the implementation of non-monetary and indigenisation benefits was scheduled to take centre stage in between.
David Dzatsunga, a member of the Apex Council representing College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe, yesterday expressed dismay at the latest turn of events.
Dzatsunga said civil servants were going to regroup to map the best way to confront the challenge.
“It is not acceptable that government agrees with its employees and commit itself to improving our lot only to shift goal posts at the last minute,” Dzatsunga said.
“We are waiting to hear from them why they have not honoured the agreement so that we can regroup to see what course of action to take.
“We always felt that the employer was negotiating in bad faith and we had our reservations but for the sake of progress, we had to be patient”.
The latest development around the issue of salaries for government workers has raised questions over the sincerity of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s election promises that, once in power, they would improve civil servants’ salaries.
In the run up to the elections last year, Mugabe promised to increase civil servants’ salaries in line with the poverty datum line.
Under the previous administration, the party blamed its unity government partner, MDC, which was in charge of the finance ministry, for blocking salary hikes that it said it wanted to award to workers.
Civil servants make up the country’s largest workforce at about 230 000 and on average take home nearly $300 monthly against a poverty datum line figure of $560, which is the minimum set out for basic sustenance.
In his 2014 National budget statement presentation, Chinamasa said the salaries of civil servants alone were gobbling up nearly 75 percent of the state’s monthly income and that it was too high.