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Zimbabwe Gov't Meets Civil Servants Over Pay, But Offers Nothing

The much-anticipated National Joint Negotiating Council meeting between civil servant and government representatives in Harare Wednesday failed to produce positive results with officials bringing nothing to the negotiating table.

The meeting was expected to discuss civil servants' salaries and working conditions but state officials seemed oblivious of the agenda, angering union leaders.

The government, through its team led by mines permanent secretary Prince Mupazvirihwo, then asked the union leaders to present their proposal for the rise.

Mupazvirihwo and his team, after then discussing the union's position on salaries, requested the civil servant representatives not to disclose figures they presented to the government for consideration saying this may trigger unnecessary price increases with shop owners anticipating their biggest customers may soon have disposable incomes.

But sources said the Apex Council, led by chairperson Tendai Chikowore, presented its demands of at least $560.00 for the lowest paid government worker, currently earning $296.00 per month, a review of all allowances and better conditions of service.

Since January civil servants have been trying to push for a salary review to no avail, even after downing tools for one day. The government insists that it does not have the money to for increments.

Chikowore told the VOA that government officials promised to come back to them within the next seven days with a response on the figures they presented Wednesday.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Majongwe said the government was trying to buy time, especially with officials coming to the meeting without a position.