A CRUNCH meeting between Government and civil servants’ union leaders failed to kick off yesterday as representatives could not connect on Zoom due to connectivity and power challenges and employees have since requested to meet on Friday.
The parties were yesterday expected to hold a National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) meeting to deliberate on the welfare of Government workers.
They were supposed to meet for the first time this year during an indaba that was expected to lay the guiding framework of how public sector wages and living conditions will be made better throughout the year.
Government has since said it will be paying its employees Covid-19 allowances in foreign currency.
Civil servants will receive their US$75 monthly Covid-19 risk allowance in cash as well as pensioners their US$30 allowances. In 2021, Government paid bonuses in US dollars.
In an interview, Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander: “There were connectivity problems so we failed to communicate smoothly so given the importance of the meeting and the level of interaction, we the workers side have requested for a physical meeting on Friday.”
Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions secretary-general Mr David Dzatsunga said key speakers could not contribute.
“The meeting could not take off because of connectivity challenges that we experienced, especially by some of the key speakers who could not connect.
We then agreed that maybe we should have a special arrangement that we have an in-person meeting, if possible,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) proposed to Government to pay workers in foreign currency, suggesting that the lowest paid worker should get US$671.
According to the Zimta position paper on salary review for the first quarter of 2022, this was necessitated by the “decimation of salaries and allowances for teachers in particular and civil servants in general”.
In its list of demands, Zimta said they could accept that half their salary be paid in US dollars and the other in local currency.
“The lowest grade civil servant is paid US$671, gross salary.
Or that, alternatively, that all workers at least be paid fifty percent (50%) of the improved salary in USD, with the balance paid in ZWL.
Or alternatively that all civil servants be paid their improved salary in USD every quarter,” read the position paper.
Last month, civil servants said they hoped Government would accede to their request for salaries to be paid in foreign currency as the country starts a new year saying this will improve their standards of living.
Government employees said at that time that payment of bonuses in foreign currency has given them hope for a better 2022.
Government paid workers bonuses in foreign currency as a way of cushioning them from an inflationary environment.-Chronicle