||Zimbabwe: Civil Servants Make Demands for 2011
||Friday, November 26, 2010
Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement
||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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