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Clashes in Civil Servants' Union Derailing Salary Negotiations

Civil servant representatives met in Harare on Tuesday for six hours but failed to come up with the names of nine people who will make up the team that will represent workers in salary negotiations with government representatives.

Apex Council chairman and College Lecturers Association president David Dzatsunga told VOA Studio 7 they were only given 48 hours by the government to come up with the team. The unions failed, he said, to agree in the first 24 of those 48 hours.

Dzatsunga said the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and Public Service Association are reluctant to let go any of the three seats they each currently hold on the negotiating team.

ZIMTA president Richard Gundani applauded the efforts by the unions to at least meet, adding his association “celebrates the engagement process.”

The meeting continues Wednesday with Gundani noting that he is hopeful progress will be made.

Government has repeatedly asked the civil servants to unite and conduct salary negotiations as a united front but bickering in the Apex Council, a body that negotiates salary and working conditions for public workers, has scuttled the talks.

The civil servants are demanding a monthly salary of just more than $540, which is equivalent to the country’s poverty datum line for an urban family of six.

Zimbabwe is currently struggling to come up with a national budget owing to dwindling resources. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa is set to present the budget Thursday amid reports that the country will not increase salaries of civil servants due to lack of funds.