Civil ser­vants re­ject strike call

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

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.”

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