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Dissatisfaction, Dismay Greet Zimbabwe Public Sector Pay Hikes

Though it vowed earlier this year not to raise civil service salaries, the Zimbabwean government said yesterday it will increase public-sector wages by up to 300%.

Public Service Commission Chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa said the increase would be the last for at eight months. The raise, which kicks in May 1, got mixed reactions, with some representatives of public employees saying the increase was too small.

Government Workers Association Executive Secretary Emmanuel Tichareva told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that public workers remained the lowest paid in the the country despite the increase, but said he hoped talks with the government would yield more money for his 25,000 members.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association CEO Peter Mabhande said his members were not happy with gains of 150% to 175%. Mabhande said prices of goods and services are soon going to rise as well, rendering the latest increment meaningless, so his group also wants to bring the government back to the negotiating table.

Progressive Teachers Union President Takavafira Zhou said the pay increases were insufficient to ensure his 12,000 members could meet basic living costs.

Economists like Anthony Hawkins, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe Graduate School of Management, expressed concern that the raises would stoke inflation.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...