Ever since the year began and the Zimbabwean dollar was introduced back in February the government has been embroiled in a fierce dispute with its civil servants who are demanding that the government should pay them their old USD salaries and adjust them according to the interbank rate.

Recently the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) announced that the consumer basket had gone above the $2 000 mark prompting calls from various workers groups for another pay rise as inflation continues to take its toll. The lowest civil servant earns $1 023 which means they are living in poverty.

The Finance Minister has promised that the government is going to award civil servants with another pay hike. He has however ruled out basing salaries on their old USD bases and adjusting them using the interbank rate saying the government cannot afford to do this.

We cannot afford it. Where is the exchange rate now, US$1:$15? So can you imagine if we were to multiply that (the current salary) by a factor of US$1:$15.

We cannot afford that as Government, we will go bust. So we will do it in a gradual way, I think we have done our best. We had an adjustment in April, another adjustment in July, another is coming, then we have the bonus in November,

Mthuli Ncube on rating the salaries of civil servants

Civil servants already got a pay adjustment in April and July. With Zimbabwe effectively going through hyperinflation those pay hikes are now woefully inadequate with weekly fuel price and monthly ZESA price adjustments. It’s not clear when the salary hike will come.

The government, businesses and just about everyone else uses the USD to Zimbabwean dollar exchange rate to set prices of goods and services. Civil servants are tired of having to negotiate their salaries every time things go up which is every other day as opposed to every other week as was the case months ago. They want a reliable formula they can use.

Teachers Doctors have been adamant that they will not go back to work until they get interbank rated salaries dealing a death blow to essential sectors.