No civil service salary increment till April

No civil service salary increment till April
Published: 13 February 2014
THE cash-strapped government yesterday risked the wrath of public sector workers after announcing that a promised pay increase would now only be effected in April, not this month.

The government, citing cash-flow problems, says civil servants would get their April pay together with the shortfall backdated to January.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Public Service counterpart Nicholas Goche on Tuesday night met public sector unions to plead for more time.

The government and its workers last month agreed on a salary deal that should see the lowest paid employee earning up to three quarters of $505 - set in the negotiations as the poverty datum line.

This will see the civil service wage bill for the nearly 230,000 workers increasing by $13 million to $155 million per month.

The new salary structure will result in the lowest paid civil servant in Grade B1 getting $375, up from $297. Another review is expected mid-year, while the implementation of non-monetary and indigenisation benefits will be discussed at the end of this month.

Minister Goche yesterday referred questions to Minister Chinamasa, whose phone went unanswered.

"I think the Minister of Finance is the best person to talk to for explanation, but there were proposals that were made and there will be another meeting tomorrow (today)," he said.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said Minister Chinamasa openly told them that it would be impossible for the government to effect any increments this month.

"He (Minister Chinamasa) was baring his soul that he has no resources at the moment to pay the salaries," he said. "He said everyone would have received their money backdated to January by April. He said budget overruns from last year were putting pressure on the fiscus and he was trying to work some solutions that do not result in retrenchments or failure to pay current salaries."

Ndlovu said the development eroded the confidence the civil servants had in the government over the salary settlement.

"This is a serious disappointment and for him (Minister Chinamasa) to come at the eleventh hour, failing to consult us, will bring despondency in the industry," he said.

"Our confidence has been destroyed, as much as we understood some of the points he raised. He said during the first quarter of the year there are always cash flow problems."

College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president David Dzatsunga said while Minister Chinamasa had pleaded with them to be patient, they would map a way forward today. "This is a delicate issue," he said. "We have put proposals that we have a certain sector being paid next month and the rest of the education sector getting their increments in April.

"Minister Chinamasa said technocrats from his ministry and the Civil Service Commission would work on the proposal and see if it is feasible. After that we agreed they should come up with a co-owned statement for us to be able to explain to our membership to avoid chaos."

The new adjustments were effected on the basic salary only. Transport ($66) and housing ($91) allowances remained unchanged.

Those in Grade D1, such as teachers straight out of college, will get $500 up from $446, while those in EI such as deputy directors would get $623.

Workers were demanding $543 as the minimum pay and 30 percent of basic salary as rural allowance, but this remained unchanged at five percent.

Under the deal, the government also agreed to mobilise an additional $3 million every month for the decompression of salary grades, a move that would see the workers being paid according to seniority, qualifications and experience.
- chronicle
Tags: Salaries,


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