WASHINGTON DC —
Civil servants on Monday finally accepted the government’s basic salary adjustment of $79, which increases the paycheck of the least-earning employee to $375, up from $296.
Worker representatives, who were demanding $540 for the lowest paid in line with the poverty datum line, caved after government continued to dig in saying it was broke.
The adjustment will also see the lowest paid teacher’s pay increasing from $446 to $500. A government employee in an executive position will now earn $623 up from $531.
Apex Council official Richard Gundane, who led the workers’ delegation in negotiations, said the adjustment was a good start.
"The increment is only going to affect the basic salary," said Gundane. "The transport and housing allowances will remain the same. The rural service allowance is also going to increase because it is a factor of the basic salary. But it is important to highlight that the rural service allowances continues to remain at 5 percent yet our demand was at 30 percent so this is one thing that we will continue to push for."
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) official Takavafira Zhou told VOA his union was unhappy with the pay structure and will be consulting its members on the way forward.
“Basically, we were not happy as a union but you must understand that we were not discussing as a union,” said Zhou. “It was a joint negotiating council where we had the Apex Council representing us and we are not allowed to voice union issues.”
He continued: “But basically, our representation was more interested in signing to ensure that there would be constant consultation between government and government workers particularly in trying to implement non-monetary incentives like housing and others.”
The PTUZ had previously threatened strike action if the government failed to increase teachers' salaries. Zhou says the union will start consulting its members on the issue soon.