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Zimbabwe Agrees to Boost Civil Servant Allowances, Holds Line on Salaries

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer Manuel Nyawo said his union has mobilized members to launch a labor action until Harare meets worker demands, and will ask other unions to join forces with it

Following critical talks with representatives of civil servants Wednesday the Zimbabwean government has agreed to increase housing and transport allowances but made no commitment to lift salaries, sources informed on the meeting said.

Tendai Chikowore, chairwoman of the Apex Council which negotiates on behalf of state employees, said the government proposed to raise transportation allowances for Grade B workers from US$20 a month to US$28, housing allowances to US$30 from US$12.

She said the government did not respond favorably to proposals from negotiators to restore a special allowance for state workers in rural areas.

Chikowore said lowest-paid civil servant was now earning $186 dollars a month. State worker representatives have demanded that this be increased to $502.

The government has been saying for months that it cannot afford such an increase.

She told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that worker representatives did not consider the talks productive, so will continue to seek a meeting with President Robert Mugabe.

Meanwhile, Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer Manuel Nyawo said his organization's leadership boycotted Wednesday's meeting because they did not believe that the government was going to put anything significant on the table.

Nyawo said his union has mobilized members to launch a labor action until Harare meets worker demands. He said he hopes the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe will join in such an action.

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