By A Correspondent- Civil servants have written to the government demanding an urgent meeting over salaries, which they say have been significantly eroded by inflation.
This comes as prices of basic commodities and services have continued to rise over the past weeks.
In a letter addressed to the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander demanded an urgent meeting with the government.
“The Apex Council has noted with grave concern the obtaining situation on the ground that has left civil servants in a devastating situation. We last had an NJNC meeting and agreement in January with the view that regular meetings to address changes in the economy would be made but hitherto, nothing has materialised.
“It is to this end that the council requests you to convene the meeting with urgency so as to address the challenges which are drastically bedevilling the civil servants. We also want to bring to your attention that this meeting is overdue with regards to the agreements we made in our last meeting,” Alexander said.
A number of government workers are getting less than $3 000 dollars, which is around US$46 and this money does not tally with the prices of commodities in most supermarkets.
According to April’s ZimStat figures, the total consumption poverty line was $6 420,87 for a family of five. The figure has since increased over the past few weeks.
Apex Council organising secretary Charles Chinosengwa, yesterday told the Daily News that the letter had not yet been responded to, even though there were indications last weekend that the government intended to meet with civil servants this week.
“Ministers want political mileage at the expense of the workers. The prices went up soon after the claims that the civil servants were to get a salary increment were made. Our members are now putting pressure on us to pursue the salary negotiations,” Chinosengwa said.
He said the government was not forthcoming, saying it was going to be more difficult for civil servants at the end of this month, as prices were likely going to continue increasing due to inflation.
This also comes after the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) wrote to the Public Service Commission yesterday notifying of its members’ intention of going on strike.
“Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, hereby notify you of our nationwide strike in the next 14 days if our demands of a salary pegged in United States dollars are not met,” Artuz secretary-general Robson Chere said.
He said teachers should be paid US$550, saying their current salaries are no longer viable. The government yesterday said the salary issue was being handled through the Tripartite Negotiating Forum.
“The matter is being dealt with by the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. You can speak to the permanent secretary,” Labour ministry deputy minister Lovemore Matuke said.
However, Labour ministry permanent secretary Simon Masanga’s mobile went unanswered yesterday.
The civil servants’ demand comes after prices have almost doubled in shops over the past few weeks.
A loaf of bread, which was being sold at between $31,99 and $35,99 last month, is now selling between $50,30 and $60. A crate of eggs which was ranging between $180 and $214, is now retailing between $280 and $295.
A snap survey by the Daily News also showed that a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil is now $227 against its last month price of $181, while a 2kg rice packet which was $109, is now between $140 and $170, while 10kg maize-mealie which was $234 to $262 is now between $392 and $403.