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Teachers reject latest wage offer

Some teachers’ unions have rejected the latest salary offer by the government saying it is way below their expectations.

This is after the government the Public Service Commission (PSC) announced, Monday, it had met workers’ representatives and signed an agreement with the government in acceptance of “significant” steps the employer has taken to improve conditions of service for all civil servants.

“Introduction of USD $100 salary to be paid in hard currency across the board with effect from 1 March 2022. This is over and above the ZWL salary. This brings the total USD monthly pay component to USD $ 175, with effect from 1 March 2022,” said PSC permanent secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe.

The US$100 salary is in addition to the US$75 Covid-19 allowance for civil servants that would continue to be paid in hard currency.

But civil servants lambasted the government saying these conditions were done outside meaningful negotiation.

“This is senseless labour practice done unilaterally outside of a meaningful negotiation forum. It’s capitalist and full of egocentric patronage. Why plan for the pockets of workers? So, it’s only senior government officials who must eat well and live pretty? Is Zimbabwe their private property?” quizzed one headmaster in Bulawayo.

“Do they think this US$100 per month is enough to cover rent, council tax, utility bills, transportation, school fees, hospital bills, food, clothes and leisure activities?”

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) noted the government played around with figures and produced propaganda statements to seem as if they had done something.

“More drama and more jokes” adding probably the “Zimbabwean government is the first employer to sign a Collective Bargaining Agreement with itself,” ARTUZ said on its Twitter account.

One primary school teacher quizzed the logic of the government school fees incentive.

“Why not just give every teacher ZWL$60 000 for fees every beginning of the term whether they have school going kids or not. It’s not only biological children that teachers take care of. It’s so dehumanising for a teacher to be a charity case, going to register to be exempted from paying fees,” she said.

A social commentator, Emmanuel Sibanda said the pay given to civil servants fails to meet the aspirations of the workers and the lifestyle associated with their profession has become a thing of the past.

“Civil servants of 1990 were able to take their children to boarding schools, provide the basics at home and even have change to buy clothes. Today the salary is not enough to do the bare minimum. Boarding schools are charging around US$500 and that means the poor can’t afford them,” he said.

The other terms announced by the PSC secretary included:

“A 20 percent review on gross emoluments (basic salary, transport, housing allowance and representation allowance where applicable) backdated to January 1, 2022, and to be paid February 2022 pay date.

“Introduction of a housing loan guarantee scheme for how ownership for all civil servants

“Payment of advancements awards with immediate effect backdated to 2012 and subject to computations. Payments will be effected in a staggered manner.

“Improvement of the administration processes for rebate of duty on motor vehicles imported by civil servants’

“Provision of 34 000 housing units as institutional accommodation for teachers within and outside school premises over a period of five years. Provision of a special monthly facility to transport teachers in both rural and urban areas on pay date.”

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