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Zimbabwe Military, Public Workers Disappointed With Small 2011 Pay Raise

  • Gibbs Dube

Sources in the defense forces told VOA on Wednesday that they received their January pay slips this week reflecting salaries from US$193 up to US$225, a scale expected to apply to other state employees

Modest 2011 pay increases for members of the Zimbabwean military, believed to indicate similar incremental gains for civil servants, have left public workers disgruntled.

Sources in the defence forces told VOA on Wednesday that they received their January pay slips this week reflecting salaries from US$193 up to US$225. Base pay for soldiers last year was US$176 a month including housing and other allowances, and many in the military had hoped to see a 100 percent increase in public sector pay this year.

The Apex Council comprising officials of public sector unions and associations, said it is displeased at indications that civil servant salaries will not be doubled.

The national unity government launched in February 2009 abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar and as a gesture to public workers paid minimal allowances up to US$200. The government has continued to tell state workers it can't afford to pay much more.

Apex Council Chairperson Tendai Chikowore said the panel will meet on Thursday with government officials to argue for larger increases. “We expect fireworks at the meeting as the government is doing what it wants without consulting us,” Chikowore said.

State employee Cephas Sibanda said the Apex Council will not manage to get a 100 percent pay rise for government workers.

VOA was unable to reach a senior government official for comment on the matter.

The council represents the the Public Service Association, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe.

In presentin his 2011 budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti set aside US$1.4 billion for civil service compensation but did not detail the salary structure.

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