No breakthrough in civil servants’ pay talks

via No breakthrough in civil servants’ pay talks   DECEMBER 25, 2013  By Tichaona Sibanda SW Radio Africa

Pay talks between government and civil servants on Tuesday did not produce any breakthrough, amid reports the negotiations will resume in January next year.

Takavafira Zhou, the president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told SW Radio Africa that nothing concrete emerged from the meeting in Harare.

He said government representatives failed to commit themselves as they did not have a clear cut mandate from their bosses to agree on any deal.

The PTUZ went into Tuesday’s negotiations as part of the Apex Council, an umbrella body representing civil servants’ unions.

The pay talks were previously stalled for months as the various unions under the Apex Council could not agree on nine representatives for the National Joint Negotiating Council, a salary discussion forum between Government and civil servants.

The workers’ representatives are demanding the least-paid government employee to earn a salary on par with the poverty datum line, which the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe pegs at about US$540. Currently, the least-paid Government worker is getting US$297.

“What is clear from today’s (Tuesday) meeting is that there is no money for civil servants, despite promises from the government that they will stagger the salary increases from next year,” Zhou said.

He added: “The only thing that the government committed itself to was the provision of accommodation. They told our representatives that they will provide affordable accommodation, and we wait to see how they’re going to do it.”

Zhou urged government to bring a high powered delegation to the talks and not bring officials who end up going back to their bosses for consultations.

“We need people who make decisions on the table and we need government to bring with it a position paper spelling out its plan on civil servants salaries,” he said.