Harare, (New Ziana) – A last-ditch meeting on Tuesday between the government and representatives of its workforce failed to break a longstanding salary impasse, prompting the latter to press ahead with planned mid-week demonstrations to push their demands.
In late October, the union notified the government of its members’ inability to continue coming to work due to low salaries.
It said a combination of high inflation and ongoing currency reforms had drastically eroded their salaries, when pegged to the greenback, from an average of US$475 in the past to US$40 now for the lowest paid worker.
The workers are demanding that salaries be linked to the exchange rate, a move the government said was untenable.
Last week, the Apex Council notified the government and the police of its intention to hold a protest march on November 6.
The police gave the march the greenlight.
Government, through the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), had called Tuesday’s meeting to resolve the impasse and avert the street marches.
But after the meeting, the Apex Council said government had brought no new offer to the table.
“The much anticipated Apex Council demonstration set for tomorrow,
Wednesday 6 November, 2019, will go ahead as scheduled following fruitless NJNC meeting held today, 5 November, 2019,” the workers union said.
The Apex Council said the government brought no new offer to the table.
“To add insult to injury, government has gone back on its earlier offer to pay all bonuses in November, confirming instead that they will pay over two months, meaning some civil servants will get inflation blighted bonuses,” the workers body said.
The government has since the beginning of the year engaged its workforce in wage negotiations, and has awarded them cushioning allowances while talks for a salary review were going on.
But with inflation ravaging the economy, workers have been forced to constantly ask for reviews, putting pressure on the already financially over-stretched government.