The Government and civil servants representatives are set to meet this Wednesday over the cost of living with the latter expected to press for a December cushioning allowance.
The meeting comes at a time when the cost of living has shot up ahead of the festive season, an indication many Zimbabweans will have little or nothing to spend during the Christmas holidays.
According to the latest figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), which are however behind by two months, an average Zimbabwean family requires at least ZW$3 160 to meet its basic needs for it not to be deemed poor.
The lowest-paid government employee still earns $1 023 per month.
The Apex Council, an umbrella body for the country’s civil servants recently wrote a letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC) requesting a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting.
“The Civil Service Apex Council would like to bring to your attention the further deteriorating value of civil service incomes in the light of the spiralling inflation,” read the letter.
“Civil servants are now severely incapacitated as the October salary of $1 023 for the lowest paid worker will not suffice for the December 2019 month-end. While the 2019 bonus payment helped lessen the suffering, it is inconceivable that workers will survive on the October salary.”
The Apex Council added the incapacitation of workers due to the disparity between incomes and prices would see the majority of civil servants prone to hunger and desperation.
While civil servants were paid a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in August, and the 13th cheque last month, their earnings have since been eroded by price increases, making another review inevitable.
Government workers have been engaging their employer for the better part of the year seeking cushioning from price hikes.
This year alone, the government twice granted a cost of living adjustment to its employees — in April and August.