The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Govt Shoots Down Civil Servants Unions

Government has turned down a request by civil servants unions to recognise the old Apex Council to spearhead salary negotiations, ordering the workers representatives to legally reconstitute the body that represents the employees.

This comes at a time the presidents of all Government staff asociations meet Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga today to get an update on salaries and working conditions.

Civil servants unions last week wrote to Minister Matibenga imploring Governmnent to recognise the old Tendai Chikowore led executive to revive salary negotiations that have failed to take place for the past 11 months due to fighting between the civil servants unions.

The unions wanted the old committee to negotiate for the next three months while they put their house in order.

But Minister Matibenga on Tuesday wrote to the workers unions ordering them to reconstitute the Apex Council for salary negotiations to resume.

She said according to the Public Service Act, the other option was for the civil servants to reappoint the old Apex Council for the next two years instead of three months.

"Reference is made to your later dated January 3 2013 concerning your request for the recogntition of the old Apex Council negotiating team," read the letter.

"Please be advised that Statutory Instrument 141/97 has no provision for 'provisional recognition' of the Apex Council for 'three months' as per your request."

Minister Matibenga said the legal term limit for all National Joint Negotiating Council leaders was two years.

The NJNC is a platform that brings to the negotiating table civil servants unions and Government negotiators.

"Instead, Sub-section (5) of section 3 of the same provision provides that ' the term of the members of the Joint Negotiating Council shall be two years and members shall be eligible for reappointment," the letter read.

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