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Civil Servants Demand $540 for Lowest Paid Workers

Civil servants have over the years resorted to strikes to demand higher salaries. (File Photo/Thomas Chiripasi)
Civil servants have come up with a position paper stipulating that the lowest paid worker should get $540 a month, including housing and transport allowances.

The civil servants, who met in Harare on Tuesday, hope that the cash-strapped government will look for funds to pay their increased salaries.

Sifiso Ndlovu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, said they agreed that the lowest paid civil servant should get a basic salary of $317, a housing allowance of $160 and transport allowance of $63.

“Informed by the principle of the poverty datum line, we are saying all salaries must be anchored on that, meaning that the lowest paid worker must be at that level. We have also asked the government to consider attracting and retaining employees who are working in remote areas. They should be given rural service allowances pegged at 30% of one’s basic salary,” said Ndlovu.

The lowest paid government worker is currently getting $297 a month, including allowances.

Ndlovu said the civil servants are also demanding to be involved in Zimbabwe’s controversial black economic empowerment programme.

The Civil Service Commission recently urged public workers to draft a position paper on salaries and conditions of service before negotiating with the government for higher salaries under the National Joint Negotiating Council.

Public workers' salaries gobble at least 70% of the country's national budget in a nation with more than 230,000 civil servants.

On the other hand, workers in the private sector and employers have reached a deadlock over salary negotiations.

George Nkiwane, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said most workers are demanding a minimum wage of $550 per month as they grapple with the high cost of living.

“Employers and workers are not agreeing on better salaries for employees. Employers come with fixed positions, so are workers,” said Nkiwane.