THE welfare of civil servants is set to improve in 2022 with Government expected to table a fresh salary increment proposal when it meets the workers’ representatives on Wednesday this week while pledging to continue to lend an ear to their grievances.
While the Second Republic has been regularly reviewing civil servants’ salaries and benefits for the past four years, 2022 is set to be a better year, as the economy is transitioning from stability to growth, meaning more resources for Treasury to spend on its workers.
Already, the year has started on a positive note for the workers after Government last week announced that civil servants will receive their US$75 monthly risk allowance in US dollars, as will pensioners with their US$30 allowances.
In 2021, Government paid bonuses in US dollars, a gesture that was widely appreciated by civil servants. On Wednesday, Government and representatives of the public sector workers meet for the first time this year, with the indaba set to lay the guiding framework of how public sector wages and conditions of living will be bettered throughout the year.
In an interview with our Harare Bureau, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima confirmed that Government would table an improved offer to civil servants at the meeting.
He said the Government had its own offer for civil servants adding that the meeting, in the true spirit of negotiations, would address the difference in expectations between the two parties.
“We have our own position but obviously I cannot disclose it to the press before we meet with the employees,” Prof Mavima said.
“Whatever the outcome we shall go back to Cabinet where the issue will be discussed. As the employer, we have the best interests of the civil servants at heart.”
He said the Government is prepared to listen to the civil servants’ concerns and expectations.
“We have always said that we are committed to their welfare as well as meeting their request for salaries to match the money they used to earn in US dollars,” Prof Mavima said.
“But it’s a gradual process and considering the progress we have made as well as exchange rate stability; this is the year to consolidate on that progress.
“We are meeting them (civil servants) on Wednesday and we will listen to what they want from us. After the deliberations with the unions, we will then present the matter to Cabinet and pick it up from there.”
Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions secretary-general Mr David Dzatsunga said the unions were ready to meet Government on Wednesday.
He dismissed calls for any strike action, saying civil servants will give dialogue a chance.
“We are meeting on Wednesday and that’s when we will be able to tell you the outcome.
“But our concerns are genuine and they are well documented, we hope the Government will hear our case.”
In the 2022 national budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube has projected to spend $340 billion on the wages and salaries for public servants and pensions.
Further to this, Government will offer a host of non-monetary benefits which include residential stands, housing and vehicle loan schemes as well as seed money to the Government employees’ Mutual Savings Fund.
Presenting the 2022 budget in November last year, Prof Ncube said: “Government doors remain open to structured negotiations with workers unions’ for any measures which may improve their welfare and productivity.”
In the budget, $1,8 billion was allocated to the civil servants housing loan scheme while the duty-free import facility for civil servants already in place will continue into the future as part of Government’s commitment to improve their welfare through non-monetary incentives. – Sunday News