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Zimbabwe Govt Increases Civil Servants' Salaries After Soldiers, Nurses Public Protests

FILE: Soldiers are seen on the street in central Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
FILE: Soldiers are seen on the street in central Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe has increased salaries of civil servants following public protests by soldiers, nurses and doctors after their June pay was slashed without notifying workers.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance said civil servants’ salaries and pensioners’ allowances will be adjusted upwards by 50% with immediate effect.

“In addition, all civil servants will be paid a flat, non-taxable COVID-19 allowance of USD75.00 per month. Government pensioners will be paid a flat non taxable COVID-19 allowance of US$30.00 per month.

“Government has taken due regard of the fact that addressing the wage challenges faced across the civil service, any salary reviews will need to be done with a holistic framework in order to ensure that such a review does not impose a negative shock in the market. The interim arrangement is for a period of three months from June 2020.”

The government advised all civil servants to immediately open United States Dollar-denominated nostro bank accounts with their banks to facilitate the processing of their allowances.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the government will carry out an assessment of the impact of the salary review on the nation’s budget.

“Government reiterates its commitment to payment of a living wage to its employees, whilst ensuring sustainability of the budget. Government is also widening the remuneration framework for civil servants to introduce significant non-monetary benefits and these will be announced in due course.”

While the government was announcing the salary reviews and introduction of COVID-19 allowances, hundreds of health workers, including nurses and doctors, and soldiers were staging public protests in Kwekwe and Harare amid serious concerns of an nationwide uprising if their grievances were not addressed.

Soldiers went on the rampage in Bulawayo on Tuesday where they forced residents to return home and businesses to close temporarily cease operations. The armed soldiers, irked by salary cuts, also urged residents to loot goods in some supermarkets.

In Harare, health workers staged peaceful demonstrations at Parirenyatwa Hospital, expressing their dismay over unannounced salary cuts.

Enock Dongo of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association told VOA Studio 7 that their salaries were cut by more than half as nurses who earned about ZWL$6,000 in May got only ZWL$3,500 this month.

“It’s worse for some who got ZWL$2,500 after some deductions which include loans and other things.”