Civil servants were given confidence to pursue their salary demands by President Robert Mugabe who pledged to increase their pay cheques during campaign rallies ahead of last year’s elections.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has riled civil servants, telling them the government is broke and unable to pay them adjusted salaries this month but maybe in April triggering a call for industrial action from some workers.
Workers’ represantatives who met Chinamasa late Tuesday told VOA the minister pleaded with the trade unionists to ask their members, who had threatened to strike last month, to continue working while the government looks for the money. The government, according to Chinamasa, may be able to pay the new salaries in April.
Last month Harare bowed to pressure from worker’s unions and agreed to increase their salaries from about $300 for the lowest paid employee to about $500. The unions wanted the lowest paid employee to get at least $540 a month, currently the poverty datum line.
Civil servants were given confidence to pursue their salary demands by President Robert Mugabe who pledged to increase their pay cheques during campaign rallies ahead of last year’s elections. He repeated the remarks on the need to improve civil servant salaries when he was sworn into office after the elections.
Said Mr. Mugabe then: “We have promised to address the issue of salaries and conditions of living. We pledge to fulfill this promise this year.”
However, that pledge appears far from being fulfilled judging by the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu told VOA the unions are now consulting their members on the way forward.
“We are consulting on what action to take following the meeting with both the Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa,” said Ndlovu.