The meeting between workers’ representatives and the Government team in the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) continued in earnest and in an honest way, Public Service Commission secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe has said.
Government representatives yesterday went into the meeting with a proposal for a 25 percent pay rise effective this month then another 50 percent in June, but civil servants’ representatives declined the offer.
In a statement this morning, Ambassador Wutawunashe said Government expressed constraints emanating from a prolonged economic shutdown period owing to the lockdown measures instituted to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, during which revenue generation was reduced to virtual insignificance.
Further, Government coffers are stretched since it is payment for vaccines, with the aim of administering doses to at least 10 million people, thus achieving a measure of herd immunity.
Said Ambassador Wutawunashe: “Even as Government faced these constraints, it remained committed to fulfilling the payment of salaries and benefits to all civil servants, including those who were at home during the long periods of national lockdown restrictions.
“Government anticipates that as the economy is opening up, more revenue streams will also open up.”
He added that as the economy improves, Government anticipates more space for further improving conditions of service for its workers. But as the crucial negotiations continue, Government wishes to implement the payment of salary increments from what is immediately available to support its workforce, without prejudice to the negotiation process, which will continue.
This is being done in view of the fact that some civil servants do not belong to any union, and might not wish to forgo the immediate improvement of their working conditions pending the conclusion of negotiations in the NJNC.
Ambassador Wutawunashe said Government was committed to the collaborative task of developing a realistic roadmap that will guide deliberations as the country moves closer to the attainment of Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy.
“Government reiterates its commitment to continuous and fruitful engagement with its workers towards improving conditions of service and
ensuring a living wage for its valued workforce.
“In that spirit, Government welcomes the opportunity to keep engaging with workers’ representatives in the NJNC, the forum established officially for the discussion of conditions of service for all civil servants,” he said.