Civil servants are not happy with what they are earning vis-a-vis inflation. Over the years they have had one recurring plea with the government-they want to earn what they used to earn before the Zimbabwean dollar made a return back in 2019. Back then civil servants used to earn around US$450 and then the government started paying them in ZWL which is less stable. They want their salaries to be in USD as they agreed with the government back in the day.
According to Mthuli Ncube civil servants should be grateful and cognizant of the fact that they are already receiving part of their salaries in USD:
I cannot comment on ongoing negotiations and details between civil servants and the government as yet … As a government, we are sensitive to the plight of all the civil servants and we will do whatever we can to make sure we can accommodate the demands, obviously within the budgetary constraints we face.
As you know, the government is offering US$175. So on that part, we have already shown we are willing to make sure that part of the salaries is in United States dollars, but as to the recent request from civil servants, all those things are under consideration, under discussion.The Finance Minister speaking to Newsday
The Finance Minister was responding to a question concerning the ongoing negotiations between the government and civil servants. Recently the government announced that civil servants would be getting a 100% increase after their initial offer of 80% was roundly rejected by civil servants. It seems civil servants are still not happy with the announced 100% salary increase either.
As already mentioned at the heart of the disagreement is the issue of currency. The government maintains that salaries ought to be paid in the ZWL currency as it is the operating currency for most businesses and the government in Zimbabwe. On the other hand, civil servants want salaries to be at the very least quoted in USD to prevent their salaries from being eroded by inflation. This way they do not have to constantly go back to the negotiating table with the government.
The situation has also been made worse by the fact that there are various unions involved in the negotiations and these are from various sectors and have different demands. Some for example are demanding salaries of as much as US$840 according to the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions. Now that is just plain ridiculous. There is no way the government of Zimbabwe can foot such a bill for all civil servants and be able to look after other sectors.
Then there is the inflation factor. When pushed into a corner about money the Zimbabwe government has one trick up its sleeves-printing money. They have done it countless times in the past. They will certainly print to fund this salary hike making the whole thing less useful. Why? Because it will just accelerate inflation and prices will go up.
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