Civil servants get more US$

The Chronicle

Prosper Ndlovu and Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporters
Treasury has announced a 20 percent salary increase for all civil servants plus an additional US$100 cash allowance, as well as school fees allowance among other non-monetary benefits.

This follows intervention by President Mnangagwa in the wage impasse after he directed that the conditions of service for public sector workers be reviewed with immediate effect.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube announced the new monetary and non-monetary benefits in a statement presented live on ZBCtv main news last night.

“The specific measures should be implemented forthwith as follows: a 20 percent increase on the Zimbabwe dollar salary component backdated 1 January 2021, will be implemented across the board.

“Number two, a US$100 per month in hard currency will be paid to every civil servant with effect from the 1st of March 2022 and this will be done through the conversion of the corresponding Zimdollar salary amount into hard currency bringing the foreign currency amount to a US$175,” said Prof Ncube.

“Number three, the introduction of an advancement award, which recognises seniority for differentiation within the same rank to be implemented across the entire civil service sectorally.”

On non-monetary incentives Prof Ncube said teachers will benefit from payment of school fees by Government for up to three biological children per teaching family with an upper limit of $20 000 per child per term to be paid directly to the school.

Teachers’ unions have in the past advocated that their children learn for free in schools.

He said the construction of 34 000 housing units or 2 105 blocks of flats will be done over a five-year period as institutional accommodation including critical amnesties for teachers within the school premises.

Further, Government has undertaken to implementation of a housing loan guarantee scheme to facilitate home ownership for its workers, said the minister.

A provision of a transport facility to ferry teachers in both rural and urban areas is also being worked on while teachers will also be allowed to import vehicles duty free.

They will, however, not be allowed to dispose of the vehicles until after three years.

“To conclude, Government remains committed to continue improving the conditions of service for teachers and entire civil services as the economy improves,” said Prof Ncube.

Reacting to the latest development, chairperson of the Apex Council, an umbrella body representing all civil servants, Mrs Cecelia Alexander, welcomed the new salary offer and benefits tabled by the Government.

“As the President of Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) and leader of the workers negotiating team at the NJNC, I have just received very encouraging call to the effect that the Government of Zimbabwe has finally consented to our principal demand to pay workers’ salaries in USD as tabled at the last NJNC meeting of January,” said Mrs Alexander.

“I am also reliably informed that this follows a well-considered and well-intentioned directive from His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, who has shown real leadership by stepping in to save the situation at hand.”

She expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa for listening to the plea of the employees and putting the salary negotiations’ impasse.

“We are confident that with this intervention, the President has effectively kick-started what we are sure will be a short journey towards the restoration of our salaries to pre-October 2018 levels,” said Mrs Alexander.

Earlier, the Government had threatened disciplinary action including not paying teachers who have not reported for duty.

This was after teachers had threatened job action citing incapacitation to report for duty due to low wages.

In a circular issued yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Tumisang Thabela, had directed supervisors to take disciplinary action against teachers who absent themselves from work.

Schools opened for the First Term of 2022 on Monday where teacher attendance was said to be 60 percent.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said the low teacher attendance was mainly reported in urban schools but 60 percent turned for work across the country.

Government noted with concern that on schools opening day, some learners were barred from accessing learning institutions amid claims that there were no teachers in schools.

“It has come to the attention of the Permanent Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education that some officials did not report for duty when schools opened on 7 February 2022 as per the 2022 school calendar,” said Mrs Thabela.

“This unwarranted conduct deprived learners of their right to education as enshrined in Section 75 and 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Accordingly, heads of offices should take urgent disciplinary action against any of their members who obstructed the opening of schools and deprived learners of their constitutional right.

“Where necessary, heads of offices should charge and suspend such members at the school, district, provincial or national level and ensure that all due processes are followed as per Public Service Regulations 2000 as amended.”

Article Source: The Chronicle

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