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Zimbabwe: Civil Servants Make Demands for 2011
Source: financialgazette.co.zw
Source Date: Friday, November 26, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management
Country: Zimbabwe
Created: Nov 29, 2010

Kudzai Bare, Staff Reporter
CIVIL servants want the government to pay the lowest paid public worker a minimum monthly entry salary of US$502, including transport and housing allowances, starting January next year. In a position paper made available to The Financial Gazette, the Apex Council is also demanding that a rural allowance be introduced at 20 percent of one’s monthly salary for the benefit of civil servants in remote parts of the country where the working conditions are harsh.
A non-monetary benefit has also been proposed, effective January next year.
“It is our hope that the employer will reciprocate our position paper by giving us its own position as informed by the broad macro-economic policies. We further believe we will find the political will to enter into 2011 negotiations with commitment to improve conditions of service for the civil servants,” said Tendai Chikowore, the chairperson of the Apex Council, in a covering letter attached to the position paper.
The letter, dated November 18, was addressed to the chairperson of the National Joint Council, Nelson Sambureni.
The Apex Council represents the Public Service Association, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe.
For the whole of the current year, salaries for civil servants trailed the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), estimated at US$500, by an average of 70 percent.
This means that the government workers earned 30 percent of what they could have received had the PDL been used as a yardstick for the lowest paid civil servant.
The lowly paid civil servant currently earns US$135 per month while the housing allowance is US$6, a figure civil servants said in their position was a far cry from the prevailing market rates where a single room costs between US$30 and US$50.
About 236 000 workers are on the government payroll, consuming 70 percent of the domestic revenues generated by the government and 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
The demands coincide with the presentation today of the National Budget by Finance Minister, Tendai Biti.
The Apex Council said studies on wages have shown that falling real incomes have been associated with the adoption of survival strategies that undermine work ethics, commitment, productivity, profits and growth such as absenteeism, high labour turnover, industrial conflicts, shirking, multiple jobbing, moonlighting, pilferage and corruption.
On the other hand, it argued, good working conditions are associated with good work ethics, relative industrial peace, low turnover among employees and increased productivity, among other things.
“Currently, Zimbabwe is suffering from an upsurge in brain drain, the main push factor being low remuneration. The exodus of trained personnel has also hit hard the education and training sector.
“Whereas the proportion of trained teachers improved from 89,3 percent in 2000 to 96,7 percent by 2006 at the primary school level, at the secondary school level it deteriorated from 97,8 percent in 2001 to 91,9 percent by 2006.
“By 2008, teacher morale culminated in an unprecedented brain drain of qualified teachers,” reads part of the position paper.
ZIMTA estimates that staffing deficits in both primary and secondary schools amounts to 30 percent on average, with an estimated 45 000 teachers having left the country.
“In order to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living on the welfare of civil servants, Zimbabwe civil service Apex Council hereby recommends that the minimum salary for civil servants be one that alleviates the workers from poverty and uplifts their standard of living (a living wage),” said the Apex Council in the position paper.
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