Civil servants strike fails to take off

A TWO-DAY strike called by labour unions representing public service workers failed to take off yesterday as unions squabbled.

Their cause, was however, taken up by legislators who took Labour minister Paul Mavima to task for not addressing the plight of government employees.

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU), formerly known as the Apex Council, which had called the strike, said it would give a full report on the state of the strike today after an analysis.

“We will give a full update of the state of the strike today after compiling reports from different parts of the country,” ZCPSTU deputy team leader Goodwill Taderera said.

But information gathered by NewsDay revealed that it was business as usual as most teachers and health workers reported for duty.

Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union secretary-general Douglas Chikobvu said: “Our members are on duty today (yesterday).”

Government has been accused of using divide and rule tactics among union representatives with disparities in salary increments.

In Parliament yesterday, Mavima said government had no capacity to meet the demands of its workers after MPs queried why it was failing to address their plight.

“The fiscal space is not there. You will realise that the government has been continuously negotiating with civil servants. At the moment, their salaries are paid in Zimbabwean dollars and we have been periodically reviewing these salaries in our currency,” Mavima said.

Civil servants are demanding pre-2018 United States dollar salary of US$540.

But Mavima said their demands were misplaced.

“Reference to the 2018 salaries is misplaced. What we have to look at is do we have the capacity to pay the teachers,” Mavima said.

“There are currently intensive consultations with all representatives of civil servants and unions have been coming to the table for negotiations. I have already held a meeting and I have also called for a meeting next Monday so that we can start this issue.”

Civil servants are saying rising inflation and skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services have left them poorer and failing to make ends meet. Newsday

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