Civil servants have welcomed the improved remuneration package announced by the Government on Tuesday, saying it was a step in the right direction in addressing their welfare.
The Government awarded civil servants and teachers a lucrative package that includes a 20 percent increment across the board backdated to January 1, while US$100 from the employees’ local currency component would also be paid from next month, with a school fees support for three biological children would also be paid.
Further, 34 000 flats for teachers would be built in school grounds over five years to benefit teachers.
Crucially, an advancement award that recognises seniority for differentiation within the same grade will be implemented across the entire civil service, while teachers would be allowed to import vehicles duty free.
In a statement yesterday, Mrs Cecelia Alexander, president of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, an umbrella body of Government workers’ unions, thanked President Mnangagwa for intervening to address their concerns.
“On behalf of ZCPSTU, allow me to extend our utmost gratitude to His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Mnangagwa for listening and in the process putting an end to our NJNC (National Joint Negotiation Committee) impasse on USD salaries as a principle for negotiations.
“We are confident that with this intervention, the President has effectively kick-started what we are sure will be a short journey towards the restoration of our salaries to pre-October 2018 levels,” said Mrs Alexander.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA), the largest teacher representative body in the country, largely welcomed Government’s offer following a meeting of its leadership yesterday but said the 20 percent salary increment was insufficient.
ZIMTA proposed further negotiations on the salary increment and that the payment of the backdated 20 percent and the February 2022 salary pay date be brought forward to February 15 or earlier.
Other recommendations made by ZIMTA are that the provision of a transport facility to ferry teachers in both rural and urban areas be introduced the same day salaries are paid on or before February 15.
Announcing the salary increment on Tuesday, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the Government remained committed to continue improving the conditions of service for teachers and the entire civil service as the economy improves.
Following Tuesday’s announcement of the new salary measures, there was a marked improvement in the turnout of teachers at schools visited by The Herald yesterday in some parts of the country.
Some teachers boycotted classes on the opening day of schools on Monday, citing incapacitation.
But schools surveyed in Harare’s high-density suburbs of Mbare and Highfield showed that the majority of teachers had reported for duty and were conducting lessons.
In Mashonaland West, schools in Chinhoyi and Mhangura which fall under Makonde District, had more teachers compared to the opening day.
The acting District Schools Inspector, Mr Ezra Kafuma, confirmed the marked improvement in teachers’ attendance.
At Chinhoyi High School, at least 85 percent of teachers were present while a survey at the majority of the Government schools showed at least 70 percent attendance.
Some teachers who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity expressed satisfaction on the introduction of the duty-free vehicle import scheme for them.
In Masvingo, teachers at most schools in both rural and urban areas reported for duty, with the majority conducting lessons throughout the day.
Learners at schools such as Victoria Primary and Victoria High School in the city attended lessons for the first time yesterday after their teachers reported for duty.
While the number of teachers who conducted lessons was not yet 100 percent yesterday, indications are that more would follow suit and report for duty after the salary adjustment by Government.
Some teachers who spoke to The Herald anonymously while not completely satisfied with the recent pay increase, were happy that Government was aware of their plight and was doing something to improve their welfare.
In Mashonaland East, teacher turnout was high at most schools as compared to the opening day on Monday.
More teachers also reported for work in the Midlands, Matabeleland North and South, Manicaland and Bulawayo provinces.