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Conflicts in State Unions Derail Salary Negotiations

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga has written to the state negotiating body, the Apex Council, and the Public Service Association (PSA) informing them to put their house in order first before the government and civil servants table new salary packages.

Matibenga’s office recently received two different lists of negotiators from the council and PSA indicating that they would be representing civil servants in the salary negotiations.

The minister has dismissed the two saying it is impossible to negotiate salary increases with both entities purporting to be representing state workers.

The PSA boycotted elections that brought into office the current Apex Council leadership following disagreements over candidates.

Civil servants in Zimbabwe are demanding that the lowest paid worker be given at least $560 a month in line with the nation's poverty datum line.

The government argues that it has no money to increase civil servants' salaries due to tight fiscal space.

Apex Council chairman David Dzatsunga told Studio 7 they were surprised by the minister’s letter, adding that the organization is not aware of any differences in the council.

But PSA secretary general Emmanuel Tichareva said they are working towards addressing the issue.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is threatening to call a strike within the next few days if the current negotiations fail to yield positive results.

PTUZ general secretary Raymond Majongwe said their members, currently on a go slow, will engage in a nationwide strike if their grievances are not met by this Friday.

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