Zimbabwe: public servants reject 10% pay increase offer

14 Jan 19

A proposal by the government of Zimbabwe to raise civil servants’ pay by 10% has been rejected by public service unions.

Public sector workers in the African country are demanding to be paid in US dollar, and also protesting their working conditions.

Doctors in Zimbabwe ended a 40-day strike last week. Teachers are also on strike and civil servants have threatened to join them. 

The government on Thursday offered a 10% pay rise to public workers in a bid to stop the unrest but it was turned down immediately, local media reported.

Richard Gundane, president of Zimbabwe Teachers Association, who attended the meeting with the government, said unions rejected the offer, which would have come into effect from April this year.

“The offer has been rejected as a far cry from the workers’ expectations,” he said.

“The expectation was that there would be a cost-of-living adjustment commensurate with inflation with immediate effect.”

Zimbabwe is experiencing cash shortage, which has put its financial system into disarray. With not enough physical currency to back up funds showing in bank accounts, the value of electronic money has plummeted. Businesses and civil servants have asked to be paid in US dollars they can withdraw.

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation hit a 10-year high of 31% in November after prices of goods spiked and a shortage of dollars made imports expensive.

Thomas Muzondo, deputy chair of the Apex Council, which represents 16 public sector unions, said another meeting with the government had been scheduled for next week.

The government has plans to cut the fiscal deficit by more than half to 5% of GDP this year. It has also said it would cut the wage bill to 70% of the budget from more than 90% previously.

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