The Zimbabwean government has finally sealed a pay deal with its restive employees after the workers agreed to a 41 per cent salary hike.
The pay hike will see the least-paid civil servant earning about 14,500 Zimbabwe dollars ($177) while the lowest-paid teacher will earn a little over 18,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($220).
The government also offered teachers an additional 10 per cent risk allowance and the pay deal is expected to pave the way for the newly reopened schools to be fully staffed soon
With the agreement all teachers are expected to be back in their classrooms this week.
Government last reviewed workers’ salaries in June when it offered them a 50 per cent salary increase and a non-taxable COVID-19 allowance of 75 dollars per month to be paid until December.
Of the civil servants, teachers and nurses have been the most vocal in demanding a salary hike.
However, the majority of teachers have not been reporting for duty since schools reopened in September after a six month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most teachers will now be returning to duty after the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) on Monday advised all its members to return to work.
The association assured them to continue to press for improvements in conditions of service.
Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander confirmed the pay deal after the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting.
She said government had increased the basic salary only, but they finally settled for increments which include allowances
“We have agreed to a cost of living adjustment to be paid as follows: an average salary increase of 41 per cent of the total package that is the basic salary, transport and housing allowances plus special civil service allowance.
“It is going to be effective from Nov. 1,” she said.
Alexander said the bonus for 2020, paid over November and December, was going to be based on the basic salary plus transport and housing allowances.
“We have settled for the offer because we are now getting at the end of the year and the government is also going to be paying us bonuses for two months.
“What it means is that if we had refused the offer, civil servants were going to lose bonuses or get paid using calculations of the previous salary structure,” she said.
She added that while the civil servants’ proposal to be paid according to the value of U.S. dollar salaries in October 2018 was not met, they settled for the increase in good faith hoping that next year would bring better fortunes.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association Secretary-General Enock Dongo said nurses welcomed the increment awarded by the government but still wanted a further improvement.
“It is a welcome development by the government and we really appreciate the increment they have offered.
“It is however, not yet enough to cater for the cost of living. We expect more. But like I said, this is a positive step and we really appreciate it,” said Dongo.
Public Service Commission Secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe said in a statement on Tuesday that the government and its workers would continue to engage to continuously improve conditions of service in tandem with improvements in the economy and in revue performance.
“The government reiterates its commitment to continuous and fruitful dialogue with its workers in order to improve conditions of service for its valued workforce,” Wutawunashe said.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof. Mthuli Ncube has stressed that while he wants to see civil servants properly rewarded, he needs to maintain the fiscal discipline that has created the basis for the new stability and the launch pad for sustained and viable economic growth.
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