CIVIL servants under the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) are this Friday set to march against government’s continued reluctance to pay them in US dollars. Worries emanating from biting inflation and their devalued salaries have been ignored by government according to ZCPSTU.
In a statement, ZCPSTU organising secretary, Charles Chinosengwa, said finance minister Mthuli Ncube, the labour ministry and Parliament’s labour committee will be petitioned this Friday as civil engagements had failed to yield any positive result.
Government workers have been demanding reinstatement of their US$540 wage after it was scrapped by Ncube in October 2018, replacing it with Zimbabwe dollars which have continuously lost value.
The high inflationary environment and exchange rate disparities on the market have left civil servants barely able to afford basic goods and services.
Police notification gleaned by NewZimbabwe.com reads: “The ZCPSTU intends to march from its offices at Number 79 Livingstone Avenue to hand over a petition on conditions of civil servants’ salaries on May 27, 2022.
“The government officers to be handed over the petition are the finance and labour ministries respectively. Parliament’s portfolio committee on Labour shall be petitioned too. We are expecting 80 members from our union leaders.”Nurses, teachers and police officers are earning about ZW$19 000, less than US$100 on both the black market and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) exchange facility.
Poor wages and working conditions have already seen government losing manpower in the education and health sectors to well off countries, mainly the United Kingdom.
A law has been drafted however, which will bar those in the health sector from protesting.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in its 2021 annual report, said the country, over the last 22 years, has had a third of its households experiencing ongoing declining access to basic drinking water.
“Expenditure on water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH) stood at just 4.7%, public expenditure in health was 2% while education expenditure stood below the Dakar Framework for Action goal of 20% at just 13% of government’s spending,”
“Zimbabwe’s economy contracted by 4.1% in 2020 due to Covid -19, Cyclone Idai, a protracted drought and macroeconomic instability, though returned to 3.1% for 2021,” UNICEF reported.