Zim unions reject 10% pay increases
Workers demand US dollar salaries
Zimbabwe government yesterday offered civil servants a 10% pay rise in a bid to avert unrest, but this was immediately rejected by unions pressing for US dollar salaries.
The offer came after doctors ended a 40-day strike for better pay. But teachers are also on strike, and other civil servants have threatened additional action. Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar in 2009 but cash shortages have plunged its financial system into disarray, threatening unrest and undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
With not enough hard currency to back up funds showing in bank accounts, the value of electronic money has plummeted, prompting businesses and civil servants to demand payment in US dollars they can withdraw.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Richard Gundane, who attended yesterday’s meeting with the government, said unions had rejected outright the government offer, which would have come into effect from April 1.
“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.”
Thomas Muzondo, deputy chairperson of the Apex Council which represents 16 public sector unions, said another meeting with government negotiators had been scheduled for next week.
Zimbabwe’s annual inflation soared to a new 10-year high of 31% in November after prices of basic goods spiked, amid an acute shortage of dollars that has made imports expensive.
Earlier, junior doctors who downed tools on December 1, complaining about lack of drugs in hospitals and to press for US dollar salaries, announced an end to their job boycott without a pay deal.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said the government had started delivering medicines and other sundries in hospitals and made a written undertaking to review salaries and allowances. – Reuters
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe are under threat due to widespread unrest.