Govt, civil servants crunch meeting on today

Source: Govt, civil servants crunch meeting on today | The Herald January 10, 2019

Govt, civil servants crunch meeting on todayDr Vincent Hungwe

Felex Share Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT is today expected to table the cost of living adjustment it is offering to civil servants when it meets their representatives in Harare. The meeting, to be held under the auspices of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), is also expected to propose a range of non-monetary benefits for Government workers.

These include residential stands, housing mortgages, vehicle loan schemes and access to medical care and insurance cover. Government officially invited the Apex Council, a body that brings together public staff associations, yesterday.

“We have been invited to the meeting and it will take place at 12pm at Kaguvi Building,” said Apex Council chairwoman Mrs Cecelia Alexander.

The two parties on Monday held a preliminary consultative meeting where the Government acknowledged the challenges faced by its employees due to exchange rate and pricing distortions.

It indicated its readiness to offer a salary increment.

Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairman Dr Vincent Hungwe said on Monday at the meeting that Government would announce the cost of living adjustment on offer and how it would be distributed across grades.

“It will outline the principles that will underpin the allocation of the integrated cost of living adjustment (COLA) announced by Government focusing on the following; the distribution of the COLA across all grades of workers, the proportion of the COLA to be allocated as basic salary and housing and transport allowances and the distribution of the COLA to rural versus urban workers,” he said.

The meeting, he said, will also adopt a common position on the need to adopt a programmatic approach in determining monetary and non-monetary benefits for civil servants in the future.

“It will identify the range of non-monetary benefits, including the provision of land for housing in major towns, cities and growth points, the provision of residential mortgage schemes and vehicle loans and promoting sustainable access to medical care,” said Dr Hungwe.

“It will also agree on a roadmap to roll out establishment of a public service pension scheme based on a funded and defined benefit modality that is guaranteed by Government to protect contributors and generate input to align the current legislation that guides labour relations in the public sector to the Constitution.”

He said input would be solicited on the amendment of the Public Service Act, the establishment of the Public Service Collective Bargaining Council and the creation of Tripartite Negotiating Forum to facilitate dialogue among the social partners.

Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga said they expected any adjustment to cushion the workers from the prevailing economic challenges.

“The Apex Council will approach the make-or-break NJNC meeting with the anticipation that Government will address the major concerns that civil servants brought to the attention of the ministers on Monday, which concerns Government agreed were real,” he said.