Civil servants reject strike call
APEX Council, an umbrella body for civil servants unions, has ruled out a planned demonstration by a few teachers’ organisations tomorrow, saying it was giving dialogue with Government a chance.
Government has invited the civil servants unions for a meeting next Wednesday.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) wanted teachers to down tools tomorrow and march against Government in protest over what they termed “deteriorating conditions of service.”
They were also pushing for other civil servants to join in the protests.
Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander yesterday said while civil servants were not spared from the prevailing economic challenges, there was no need for a premature industrial action as negotiating channels were yet to be exhausted.
Demonstrations, she said, never yield positive results. “As Apex Council we want to pursue the route of dialogue,” she said. “It is dialogue which brings results. We sit on the table and discuss rather than marching. We can march, but after that what’s next? We go home without results. We still believe there is room for engagement.
“The platform we meet with Government is the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and fortunately, just today Government has confirmed that we are meeting on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.”
Mrs Alexander said there were issues Government needed to address to improve the workers’ conditions of service.
“After the pronouncement of the monetary policy and the introduction of the two percent tax, we saw a movement in the economy and we immediately wrote to our parent Ministry requesting for a consultative meeting with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor (Dr John Mangudya) and Finance and Economic Development Minister (Mthuli Ncube),” she said.
“The situation is difficult for civil servants as prices have gone up and this has eroded our salaries. Some service providers are asking for United States dollars and Government has to work a way to ensure we are cushioned and we are left with a disposable income. If the situation is unattended, I foresee some of them failing to go to work.
“Another worry for civil servants is the job cuts which are said to be coming. Apart from the issue of income, there is job insecurity. Nobody has ever come to us to tell us how it is going to be done. This is why we want to meet Government as a matter of urgency. Failure to do so means those with ulterior motives will take centre stage through premature demonstrations.”
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza this week said Government was engaging unions to find a way forward.
“I fully understand the difficult situation of civil servants in the current economic climate,” she said. “We’re engaged with the unions and the labour office to find a way forward.”