21 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Govt, Workers Finally Seal Salary Deal

Photo: New Zimbabwe
(File photo).

Government and civil servants yesterday sealed a salary accord after the employer improved its offer to the workers from $350 million to $400 million.

This will translate into a salary increment of $129 across the board effective April 1.

The lowest-paid worker in Grade B1 will now be getting $570, up from $441.

Negotiations for a further salary review -- possibly in June -- will continue with other non-monetary incentives being considered.

Government workers put pen to paper after a Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) meeting held in Harare.

An agreement sealed by the two parties states that a consensus was reached after taking into consideration "the challenges being faced by members of the public service due to rising cost of living and having noted the state of the economy."

"(It was agreed that) a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $400 million be effected across the board for all members of the public service with effect from April 1 2019 to December 31, 2019," reads the agreement.

"Government undertook to clear the Premier Service Medial Aid Society (PSMAS) arrears, resources permitting, and provide additional public service buses to augment the current fleet of buses."

The JNC also agreed that Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019 -- which allows civil servants to import cars duty-free -- be implemented.

It was also agreed that study tours on the establishment of the Public Service Bargaining Council be conducted by June 2019.

"Negotiations would continue to consider sector-specific allowances and other non-monetary incentives," reads the agreement.

In a statement yesterday, the Public Service Commission (PSC)confirmed the agreement, which will result in Government paying the Cost of Living Adjustment.

"The parties took note of the challenges being faced by members of the Public Service and agreed to implement a COLA of $400 million to be effected across the board from April 1 to December 31, 2019," said the PSC.

"In addition to the COLA, the parties also agreed to continue their engagement in order to address the following; (i) to employ additional Public Service buses to augment the current fleet, (ii) to implement Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019 that exempts the Public Service from paying vehicle import duty within the set monetary thresholds, (iii) to undertake the agreed study tours to facilitate the establishment of Public Service Collective Bargaining Council by June 2019 and (iv) for Government to provide appropriate medical services to civil servants."

The PSC said the parties will continue to engage to bring finality to other outstanding issues in respect of sector-specific allowances and other non-monetary incentives.

Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander said negotiations will continue until the welfare of civil servants improved.

"Though we have our demands which we want met, at least this is a sign of fruitful dialogue which has culminated into this agreement," she said.

"As Apex Council we will continue negotiating with the employer and this agreement is subject to review in June. We have agreed that developments in the economy, whether positive or negative, will see the parties sitting on the table to dialogue."

She added: "As Apex Council we are also happy that finally we have been heard on the issue of duty-free cars. This is also a sign that Government is committed to the betterment of our lives as workers and we hope all other non-monetary incentives we are pushing for will come into fruition."

Government recently unveiled a $60 million housing facility for civil servants as part of the non-monetary incentives.

A memorandum of agreement between the employer and the National Building Society (NBS) on the roll-out of the project is in place.

This is part of Government's commitment to provide decent and affordable housing to the people, mostly civil servants and among President Mnangagwa's interventions to alleviate hardship among citizens on the back of austerity.

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