PTUZ Criticises Government As Workers' Salaries Increase By 100%
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has criticised the government for unilaterally increasing workers’ salaries by 100%. In a statement seen by Pindula News, PTUZ president, Dr Takavafira Zhou said the government communicated the increase amid negotiations. He said:
That the government team of negotiators in the NJNC (National Joint Negotiating Council) failed to turn up for a pencilled meeting on 20 March is unfortunate in a country 43 years after attaining independence. Needless to mention that it was the government team of negotiators that had postponed the meeting from 17th of March. As if that was not enough a government document dated 15 March, from Sec for Finance & Economic Development (G. Guvamatanga) to the chairman of the Public Service Commission (Dr V. Hungwe) seems to communicate the government’s official position on salary increments. What is worrisome is that authentic communication is made before the conclusion of negotiations, an indicator of unfair labour practice on the part of the government.
The government’s ultimate unilateral offer comprises:
1. A 100% remuneration review of ZWL emoluments from the Deputy Director and below for all sectors. 2. An increase of cushion and covid allowance from US$200 to US$250 across all sectors excluding the health sector 3. A US$80 teaching allowance to every teacher (indexed to interbank rate) 4. An increase in cushion and covid allowance for govt pensioners from US$90 to US$100. 5. Free Primary Education up to a maximum of 3 children at govt schools 6. Gvt funded funeral insurance framework
Figures circulated in the communique are a product of figures discussed in the second meeting with workers’ representatives.
The government had initially offered a 50% ZWL salary review and an increase of cushion and COVID-19 allowances from US$200 to US$220.
Teachers and the rest of the civil service are demanding US$540 which they were being paid until October 2018.
The security sector salary review and cushion allowances are with effect from 1 February and 1 March 2023, respectively and are already being paid.
On the contrary, teachers and the rest of the civil servants’ salary review, cushion and COVID-19 allowances are postdated to 1 April 2023.
Zhou described this as “naked discrimination” and “a monument of Zimbabwean labour injustice.” He added:
We don’t need to have access to guns in order to be treated in the same manner as our brothers and sisters in the security sector. We don’t begrudge their salaries but outright discrimination as professionals in the total flouting of our national constitution.
As Ptuz we want, therefore, to reiterate that it would be naive to blame negotiators for government unilateralism and discrimination against teachers and the rest of the civil servants. The blame must be laid squarely on the government’s desire to generate industrial disharmony that militates against productivity in the workplace. Above all, govt is undermining trade unions in Zimbabwe in a dangerous attempt to capture workers by false paternalistic antics.
2018 to date:
Zimbabwe has experienced significant economic challenges in recent years, including high inflation rates and currency devaluation.
These challenges have led to widespread wage cuts and layoffs in many sectors, leaving many workers struggling to make ends meet.
In 2018, the government of Zimbabwe announced a salary increase for civil servants, which was seen as a positive development by many workers. However, the impact of this increase was limited by inflation and the devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar, which has continued to depreciate against major currencies.
Over the years, healthcare workers, teachers, and civil servants have embarked on industrial action demanding better pay and working conditions.
The strikes were met with a heavy-handed response from the government.