New Zimbabwe (London)

17 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Stalemate As Govt Sticks to U.S $79 Pay Offer

THERE was no breakthrough in civil service pay talks Friday as the cash-strapped government refused to move from its $79 increment offer, resulting in divisions among the Unions on the way forward.

Richard Gundane, Apex Council chairperson, told journalists Friday evening that more than eight hours of negotiations had yielded to nothing.

"Tremendous progress was made. We said let each side go back and consult and then come back on Monday to finalise the matter," said Gundane.

"On Monday l am definite that an agreement will be reached because both sides showed good will."

But Raymond Majongwe, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe sang from a different tune and said no progress was made.

"I want to be honest with you there was no progress made. We are still stuck on the Wednesday meeting. Things are not moving and we will meet again on Monday," said a disappointed Majongwe.

"We appeal to politicians to be sincere and look at our cause. We appeal to President Robert Mugabe to consider our plea. Government must be sincere and serious about this issue," Majongwe added.

Before Wednesday's meeting, the pay talks had stalled for months as the various unions under the Apex Council could not agree on representatives to the National Joint Negotiating Council, a salary discussion forum between Government and civil servants.

The union representatives rejected the $79 salary increment on Wednesday, forcing negotiations to be postponed to Friday.

But an agreement was not reached in a meeting that started around 10 in the morning and ended shortly after 6 in the evening.

Government is pushing for the least paid US$375 per month while civil servants are angling for the least paid government worker to be paid $540.

Currently, the least-paid Government worker is getting US$297.

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