WASHINGTON DC —
Salary negotiations between Zimbabwe’s civil servants and the government reached a deadlock Wednesday after state representatives offered employees $500 for the lowest paid worker.
Sifiso Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, who took part in the negotiations in Harare, said government representatives failed to increase it to $540 they are demanding for civil servants in the lowest grade.
He said the two sides postponed the negotiations to this Friday, hoping that the government will re-think on its offer, which Ndlovu said is far below the breadline or country’s poverty datum line for an urban family of six per month.
The lowest paid civil servant is currently getting about $296 a month.
Ndlovu said they are optimistic that a deal will be sealed by Friday.
Meanwhile, the government’s plans to increase salaries for civil servants is likely to further strain relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has given Harare until June to implement agreements under the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP).
The scheme was scheduled to run from April to December last year, but has been extended to give government time to implement the delayed budget and its economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
The SMP is an informal agreement between a country’s authorities and the fund to monitor the implementation of the country’s economic programme.
This, however, does not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF executive board.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze, director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute said Zimbabwe will miss its target.