Civil servants who have been pushing for a salary increment have accepted Government’s offer of a 41 percent salary increase and a bonus whose payment will be staggered from this month to December.

The salary agreement also states that Government is committed to a roadmap that will see the lost value of wages being restored after planned meetings to be held next January.

The two parties met yesterday under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) resulting in the breakthrough.

The new development follows a commitment made by Government to improve civil servants’ conditions of service.

In a statement, Apex Council said progress has been made.

The NJNC meeting in Harare today 16 November 20120 (yesterday) agreed to Cost of Living Adjustment (Cola) for civil servants to be paid as follows; An average salary increase of 41 percent of the total package (basic salary + transport allowance + housing allowance + special civil service allowance + representation where applicable) effective 1 November 2020.

A bonus that will be staggered in November and December 2020 that will be paid on basic salary, housing and transport allowance,” the statement said.

The parties further committed to coming up with a roadmap towards the restoration of the lost value of wages as at October 2018 when the lowest paid civil servant earned USD441.

The roadmap will be agreed upon at a meeting to be convened for that purpose at the end of January 2021.”

The Apex Council said it has previously rejected several offers by Government, but saw it prudent to reach common ground following the latest talks.

It said at the start of this round of talks, the average earnings of a civil servant was US$40 according to the bank rate but progressively, this has risen to US$164 according to the auction rate and US$187 for teachers.

As far as Apex Council is concerned this is progress. The fact that we are only seven weeks from the end of the current financial year means Government will cite lack of resources to fulfil the demand for full restoration of the lost value of wages and instead will argue for a gradual process towards the same,” it said.

The last full Apex Council meeting on negotiations mandated that we accept the government offer if the quantum reaches anywhere close to 50 percent of the USD 441, we used to earn in 2018. While the lowest paid worker is still USD41 from that figure, most other grades are very close to that figure.”

The Apex Council also said Government agreed to commit to a meeting to put in place a roadmap towards the restoration of the value of wages as at October 2018 in principle, a key demand of the workers.

It will be an absolute disaster for civil servants if Apex Council were to fail to take the current offer by Government and declare a deadlock. The signs are that without an increment and a bonus which will be paid on basic salary and housing and transport allowances, workers will have the bleakest festive period in living memory. While even Government acknowledges that this offer is a far-cry from the ideal, this was the best decision that could safeguard the best interest of the workers under the circumstances.

Also agreed upon was the need to consummate the workers’ substantive demand to benchmark any salary adjustment to restoring the US$441 the workers were earning in October 2018,” the Apex Council statement added.

Apex Council member and Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundani said the lowest paid civil servant will now receive a salary of $14 524. “The lowest paid civil servant will receive a salary of $14 524.

This is effective from this month. Bonuses will be paid as announced by the Government but will now include basic salary, transport allowance and housing allowance.

Covid-19 allowance remains fixed at US$75 equivalent at the going auction rate,” said Mr Gundani.

Credit: Chronicle

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