Zim civil servants salary talks collapse
Harare – Zimbabwe’s civil servants have rejected a $US44 salary hike offered by the government, demanding instead a more than 200 percent hike. The government is refusing to budge, saying there is no where it can raise that kind of money. Finance Minister Tendai Biti raised the minimum pay for the country’s 236,000 civil servants to US$186, up from around US$142 which was paid last year, but unions want US$502. In Last ditch talks between the government and public sector unions to avert strikes collapsed on Wednesday after the government offered a US$26 raise on housing and transport allowances, but stuck to its guns on salaries. The negotiations have divided unions, some of which boycotted Wednesday’s talks – the second in a week. More radical unions like the Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe are agitating for nationwide walkouts by teachers, and they accuse the larger Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) of aligning with the government. Tendai Chikowore, the ZIMTA president who also leads the umbrella negotiating body, the Apex Council, met Public Service Minister Elphas Mukonoweshuro and Finance Minister Tendai Biti who offered little cheer.