via ‘Govt must hike salaries to diffuse tension’ – DailyNews Live by Chengetai Zvauya 14 JANUARY 2014
Government is likely to cave in and award civil servants an unbudgeted, staggered, salary increment during the 2014 financial year, a leading labour expert said yesterday.
Godfrey Kanyenze, director of Labour and Economic Development Research Institute, told a post-budget seminar attended by legislators yesterday that government will have to hike civil servants’ salaries to diffuse tensions amid strike threats if their demands were not met.
“We cannot expect a huge salary increase but there is likely to be an unbudgeted salary increase for civil servants and it is likely to be staggered and this is the challenge the minister of Finance has to face and has to negotiate,” Kanyenze said.
“This has also happened in the past when we had an increase for the civil servants without the money being budgeted for. There is tension as there has been no increment for civil servants.”
During the 2014 National Budget announcement, Chinamasa promised an inflation-adjusted increment, a move that has agitated union leaders.
Civil servants earn between $300 and $450, far below the poverty datum line pegged at $540.
Kanyenze called for the revival of the social contract between government, labour and business.
“In a polarised environment in Zimbabwe, we need to come together whether you are MDC or Zanu PF, we need to go for a social contract rather than to continue to fight each other, we don’t need to focus on team Zanu PF or Team MDC only, we need a pro-poor budget,” Kanyenze said.
Joseph Chinotimba, Zanu PF MP for Buhera South, said Kanyeze had to acknowledge that the country was facing economic challenges because of the sanctions that have been imposed by Western countries.
The post-2014 budget seminar discussed budget allocations to various ministries.
The Finance Bill that will operationalise the national budget is expected to be tabled before Parliament when the house resumes sitting on January 21.