It was a case of smiling all the way to the bank for civil servants yesterday as the Government honoured its pledge to increase their salaries by 29 percent beginning this month.
The civil servants, however, urged the Government to act on businesses that are wantonly increasing prices.
Nurses, prison officers, members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and those from the Air Force of Zimbabwe started accessing their salaries yesterday with an increment of up to $129, depending on grades.
Those in the education sector will get their dues tomorrow, while the rest of the civil service and pensioners are going to be paid on April 24 and 26, respectively.
The cost of living adjustment came after Government offered a package of $400 million to be shared amongst the workers between April and December.
The latest arrangement means the least-paid Government worker is getting $600, which is above the Poverty Datum Line.
Another salary review is expected mid-year.
Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga yesterday confirmed that they had started accessing their increased salaries.
He, however, appealed to Government to put a stop to unjustified price increases.
"We appreciate Government's sincerity in honouring the letter and spirit of our agreement," Mr Dzatsunga said.
"As we try to make ends meet, it is regrettable that this comes against the backdrop of the resurgence of rampant price increases which are eroding the increase before we do anything. The situation calls for Government to meaningfully intervene to control the situation or else we are going back to the negotiating table for yet another inflationary salary adjustment."
Of the $400 million offered to the workers by Government, the Public Service Commission (PSC), including the uniformed forces, have been allocated $281 million, the Health Services Board will get $56,8 million, while the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) gets $2,5 million.
Independent commissions and grant-aided institutions get $2,6 million and $56,8 million, respectively.
Zimbabwe Nurses' Association (ZINA) secretary-general Mr Enock Dongo weighed in: "Yes, there has been an increment and Government has honoured its pledge but the price issues are worrying and if nothing is done we are going to die because we are struggling."