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Strike by Zimbabwe State Workers Takes Hold; US$600 Monthly Demanded

  • Gibbs Dube

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro

Public Service Association President John Tagara said civil servants have been waiting in vain for salaries to be increased since the formation of a government of national unity in February 2006

A strike Zimbabwean state workers demanding monthly compensation of at least US$600 a month from around US$150 at present took hold around the country on Monday with little sign of negotiations in progress.

The strike began on Friday with a mass meeting of public workers in Harare though there was no official strike call by unions for state workers.

Sources in Harare said there was little sign of negotiations in progress between representatives of the striking workers and the government.

Public Service Association President John Tagara said civil servants have been waiting in vain for salaries to be increased since the formation of a government of national unity in February 2006. At that time the government introduced a stipend of US$100 monthly, promising more as revenues increased.

“We have been patient for too long and now is the time for us to show the government that we are demanding decent salaries,” Tagara said. He said civil civil servants in Bulawayo joined the strike on Monday.

VOA was unable to reach Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro for comment on the situation and any continuing discussions with unions. The government has said it can only afford to increase salaries by US$16.

Tagara told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube many government workers have joined the strike nationwide, paralyzing most public institutions.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Peter Nthambe reported that Mukonoweshuro told reporters in Harare on Sunday that the government could not afford to meet public worker demands for salaries and allowances.

Institutions hit by the strike included the court system, schools, and the Office of the Registrar, which issues passports and certificates of birth and death.

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