Government is committed to improving the welfare of its workers and will continue engaging them on issues of mutual interest through the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
On Monday, the Government met workers’ representatives and the business community to discuss issues regarding the welfare of its workers in line with the prevailing economic situation.
The meeting was supposed to be held in April this year, but was affected by Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The next meeting between the Government, labour and the business community is expected to be held next month.
Speaking at a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Secretary for Public Service Commission Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said Government was committed to a constructive dialogue and improving conditions of service, where employees receive sustainable salaries.
“Government is committed to continued and constructive dialogue with the workers in which ideas on how to protect and defend the values of emoluments against a background of a retail culture that all too often erodes gains achieved through compromises between competing national imperatives are exchanged,” he said.
“By extending the package of 50 percent increase in salaries, combined with a grant of non-taxable Covid-19 allowance in the amount of US$75, President Mnangagwa established a sound base from which the continued dialogue can be conducted.”
This position, he said, had left the lowest paid civil servant grossing $8 025, which is within the range of what has recently become the poverty datum line.
He said Government had adopted a holistic and comprehensive approach to protecting of workers’ earnings, which are expected to benefit from recent monetary interventions to interdict inflation fuelling abuse of mobile platforms.
Government, Ambassador Wutawunashe said, was grateful to the workers for the commitment and hard work that they continued to exhibit under the present conditions.
“The Government is committed to improving the conditions of service, where employees have sustainable living salaries,” he said. “Some of the non-monetary benefits that Government is supporting its workers with include the subsidised transport to and from work, the introduction of Government Employee Mutual Savings fund (GEMS) and the duty free vehicle import scheme.”
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the meeting resolved to continue with dialogue and reconvene for further deliberations on the worker’s proposals. Both parties have agreed to further consult their principals.
The parties also agreed to refer issues of escalation in prices of goods and services, and foreign currency exchange for comprehensive discussion under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) where all the three social partners are represented.
Such an arrangement, he said, would guarantee total commitment to economic stability, thereby locking value to salaries awarded to civil servants.
He said they agreed on the need to constitute a small technical committee to come up with proposed additional workplace mitigatory measures for the civil servants in relation to Covid-19.
Apex Council representative Cecilia Alexander confirmed the meeting, saying the workers applauded the gesture by the Government, but noted that the economy was dollarising.
“We accordingly requested that the salaries be paid wholly in US dollar based on October 2018 salaries,” she said.
“The meeting agreed to reconvene and further deliberate on the proposal after consultations.”