By Takudzwa Changadeya
Teachers have renounced the salary offer which would include an increment in local currency component for public sector workers, demanding 100% salary.
They have also labeled the offer as a ‘campaign gimick’ by the ruling Zanu-PF ahead of the forthcoming general 2023 elections.
The new offer is expected to be tabled during this week’s National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting that brings together the Government and worker representatives, with the aim to cushion civil servants from the rising cost of living.
In an interview with BustopTV, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the way in which the government intends to increase the salaries is unconstitutional, adding that salary increment should be tabled at a Collective bargaining platform, the workers’ side and employer’s side haggle around and agree on a bargaining agreement.
“The defunct and illegal NJNC should never be used for Negotiating conditions of service, in the absence of a Collective bargaining platform employer should meet all Union representatives to discuss conditions of services.
“The Minister is also usurping powers of the Public Service Commission. Section 203 (1) of the national constitution mandates the public service commission to fix conditions of service for Civil servants not the Minister. Such conditions should be fixed in line with Section 65 (5) which provides for the right to Collective Bargaining.
“We reject the process being used to effect the salary increment. The ZANU PF government is highlighting a salary increase for Civil servants as a campaign gimmick.” he said.
A senior official in the Finance and Economic Development Ministry revealed that the proposed increment would result in the lowest paid worker earning between US$350 and $400, according to The Herald, an amount which is also being rejected by teachers saying it doesn’t match with the galloping prices.
“The proposed figures are between US$100 to US$150 forex component and a lump sum in local currency which will be tabled at the NJNC. This excludes health sector workers who negotiate separately,” said the official.
Masaraure said: “We also reject any increment which doesn’t match the basket of needs for Teachers.
“We have done the calculations and came up with a minimum of USD 1 260.”
Masaraure added that local currency component of the salary must be totally scrapped and be paid in USD form, demanding 100% USD salaries.
In contrary to ARTUZ’s position, Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Union spokesperson, Mr David Dzatsunga told The Herald that they have a long-standing position of US$840 for the lowest paid civil servant.
“We expect that the Government will make the US component the salary and increase it to somewhere close to our demand,” he said.