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Some Zimbabwean State Workers See Indications of Salary Increase

Teachers, health care workers and other state employees said electronic bank advisories posted on Monday, one day before deposits, showed net salary increases of up to US$90

Some Zimbabwean civil servants said Monday that information from the banks suggests they are receiving a pay increase in July remarks by Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week saying the government cannot afford to increase state employee wages.

Some teachers, health care workers and general administrative staff said electronic bank advisories posted Monday afternoon one day before deposits are due showed salary increases with some state employees getting raises of up to US$90.

Sources said indications are that the lowest paid worker will get the US$230 announced by the Apex Negotiating Council three weeks ago, sparking protests from Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro who said the Cabinet had not approved the hikes.

A senior teacher in Bulawayo told VOA that her account indicates that her net salary has been increased from US$249 to US$353.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Vice President Nokuthula Hlabangane said the evidence is that civil servants have been awarded a pay increase despite the raging dispute within the unity government over the pay increase in recent days.

Apex Council Chairwoman Tendai Chikowore assured state workers that they will receive salary increases, saying that "we have always believed that salaries will be adjusted according to an agreement we signed with the government some weeks ago."

But a Victoria Falls teacher who asked not to be named was less sure about getting a pay raise. "We have not heard anything from our unions about salary increases and this makes some of us feel that there is no salary increase this month," the teacher said.

Biti said recently the government does not have money to increase salaries of civil servants as Harare faces serious cash-flow problems with a looming US$500 million deficit for 2011.