BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
SALARY talks between government and its employees at a Joint Negotiating Council meeting yesterday ended in a deadlock.
Government refused to cave in to demands by its employees’ representative, the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) for United States dollar salaries.
Instead, government stuck to its earlier offer of a 100% salary increment in local currency, which civil servants rejected last month.
Public sector workers’ representatives will today meet to plan their way forward.
Last week, the workers gave government a two-week ultimatum to address their salary grievances or face a strike likely to paralyse public services.
“The government took much of its time in consulting after we presented our detailed and scientifically-researched position paper on 17 June 2022,” ZCPSTU team leader Cecilia Alexander said in a statement yesterday.
“(Given) the time taken by the government, as ZCPSTU, we thought there was a significant movement from the previous offer. However, the government made no new offer apart from a flatly and vehemently rejected Zimbabwe dollar offer of 100% with effect from July 1, 2022. As workers, we were not expecting such a position from the employer, considering that the employer is cognisant of what is obtaining in the economic environment.”
Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe was not answering calls yesterday.
But workers unions, including those affiliated to the ruling Zanu PF party, have intensified calls for review of workers’ salaries.
The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Union (ZFTU) has since called for an urgent meeting with Public Service minister Paul Mavima.
In a letter dated July 10, 2022 to discuss various issues pertaining to the plight of workers and the deteriorating economy, ZFTU said: “The obtaining economic situation in Zimbabwe, which is characterised by high inflation, high interest rates, shortages of some basic commodities, skyrocketing parallel market exchange rates, foreign currency shortages, ever rising prices of basic commodities and services among others (has) left the workers and entire citizens of Zimbabwe enduring the unbearable crisis for far too long as they are most vulnerable given the circumstances.”
ZFTU secretary general Kenias Shamuyarira added: “In light of the above, ZFTU is calling for an urgent Tripartite Negotiating Forum meeting to map a way forward to salvage the deepening economic crisis.
“The meeting should consider inviting other relevant stakeholders with ideas and expertise on how best the situation can be stabilised for a win-win situation for business, workers and government considering the workers are the hardest hit.”
Mavima was also not reachable for comment on the latest standoff.