GOVERNMENT and civil servants’ representatives yesterday agreed on a salary increment ranging between 133 percent and 172 percent depending on one’s grade.
The increment which the Apex Council said represents 31 percent of what they had tabled, will see the lowest paid worker earning $2 500 per month starting in February backdated to January 1.
There will also be a Cost of Living Adjustment (Cola) that will also be paid next month and again backdated to January.
Since civil servants have already been paid their January salaries, they will be paid the difference in four equal installments starting next month.
Another salary review is expected in April.
Negotiating parties under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) signed the agreement in the early hours of yesterday following a long meeting that had started on Tuesday evening.
Speaking at a press conference, Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said the deal is a provisional agreement while negotiations continue.
“We wish to advise our members that as NJNC we have reached a provisional agreement as we have agreed to continue with negotiations. Having taken note of the challenges being faced by our members due to the rising cost of living and the state of the economy, we have made a provisional agreement as NJNC and signed an agreement which we did in good faith with each party undertaking to play its part,” said Mrs Alexander who was flanked by Apex Council members.
“In our wisdom, we agreed that let’s continue to negotiate but at least let’s reach some point where we can say for now we sign for something so that our members can get something to live on.”
She said as workers representatives, they had pressured Government to consider paying the January shortfalls over three months after failing to agree on a once-off payment.
Mrs Alexander said their initial position was to have October 2018 salaries which were in US$ converted at the prevailing interbank rate.
Government, Apex Council and the NJNC appended their signatures on the agreement.
Mrs Alexander said the decision was a compromise for the sake of workers who are incapacitated.
The Apex Council which had earlier declined to sign the agreement, said it was motivated to sign following a commitment made by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima. The Minister told civil servants that Government was committed to social dialogue and also pledged to engage treasury to improve workers’ salaries.
The workers’ representatives said the decided to give Government the benefit of doubt until the end of April when the salaries will be reviewed.
Prof Mavima who was in Victoria Falls when the deal was struck, said the agreement is critical to help restore normalcy in the civil service.
Government Team Leader on the Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel Dr Maxwell Mareza Hove said as negotiators they were elated to have managed to strike a balance between workers’ needs and the national cake.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association which forms part of the negotiations, urged its members to do their best in the classroom.