HARARE – Civil and Health Services Apex Councils yesterday demanded an urgent solution to their grievances, warning that failure to address their concerns will result in workers unable to report for duty.
This comes as doctors are on strike, protesting the severe shortages of pharmaceutical drugs at public hospitals — as well as the selling of available drugs in foreign currency by retail pharmacies, the poor state of the country’s hospital infrastructure and their “falling” salaries which they now want the government to pay in foreign currency.
The Civil and Health Services Apex Councils — who are meeting the government tomorrow — are demanding the government to pay them in US dollars, pay bonus in full including allowances and to consult them when making decisions that affect workers.
“It is common cause that the relentless spiralling of prices is increasingly making it impossible for workers to continue coming to work to the extent that any time soon workers will be completely incapacitated.
“The Health and Civil Services Apex Councils thus call upon your government to cause for an urgent meeting between ourselves and government to find common ground on the above issues.
“We caution that any rush to implement the above proposals will not have the support of workers and may cause dislocation in the workplace,” the joint statement said.
They demanded Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to review some of the 2019 budget proposals.
“The decision to pay bonus on basic salary is unacceptable to us and amounts to a withdrawal of a benefit much against the law.
“If workers are going to pay duty in forex, it follows that salaries should be paid in forex.
“This proposal on forex will have the effect of excluding civil servants from buying vehicles and some unmentioned foodstuffs. Our salaries are in RTGS, custom duty is in USD.
“If we convert our salaries to USD on the parallel market, we get jailed for 10 years.
“The budget does not at all mention a cost of living adjustment which is an urgent matter given the massive erosion of our incomes since the continuous and contouring surge in prices of basic goods and services.”
The Health and Civil Services Apex Councils added that the move to implement the said proposals by the Finance minister will cause unnecessary disharmony between workers and the government.