The National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting that took place yesterday recognised that the current economic environment in Zimbabwe could not be resolved in a bi-partite arrangement, including civil servants and the government only, but could be discussed in a Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), which brings in the business society.
Civil servants and the Government, engaged in a negotiating forum, after demonstrations from teachers and the medical sector over salaries.
Inflation in Zimbabwe has been attributed to the erosion of civil servants salaries and the government workers are demanding wages in foreign currency against the local currency that is losing value to the United States Dollar.
Secretary to Service Commissions, Jonathan Wutawunashe said the decision to bring in the business, government and labour was in recognition that the vicious cycle of raising salaries followed by an immediate adjustment in retail prices did not support an approach that could leave out critical economic players who are part of the TNF.
The meeting resolved to refer issues of escalation in prices of goods and services, and foreign currency exchange for comprehensive discussion under the TNF.
Wutawunashe says, “Such an arrangement (TNF) would guarantee total commitment to economic stability thereby locking value to salaries awarded to Civil Servants.”
“It is the hope of Government that this meeting be held within the first two weeks of July.”
Yesterday’s meeting, however, noted that the government met the cost of living adjustment commitment in January.
The secretary said the cushioning arrangement, which includes a 50% wage increase plus a 75USD would leave the lowest paid civil servant grossing ZWL$8 025.00 which is within the range of what has become the poverty datum line.
“The feasibility of paying salaries in USD currency was debated against the background of known national challenges,” said Wutawunashe.
“Workers appreciated that government continued to pay 100% salary to its workers during the lockdown period, and paying on time.”
The meeting also resolved to constitute a small technical committee to come up with proposed additional workplace mitigatory measures for the civil servants in relation to COVID-19.