Government agrees to 50-per-cent civil service pay hikes

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    Tendai Chikowore, the chairwoman of Apex Council – an umbrella body representing government employees – said as from July onwards, the lowest paid civil servant will be receiving a basic salary of US$159, transport allowance of US$44 and US$50 housing allowance.

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    This translates to earnings of US$253 up from the previous US$128.

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    Apex Council had agreed to the government offer, which brought the lowest paid civil servants “to 50 per cent of obtaining the poverty datum line of 502 dollars,” Chikowore said. A review would take place in January 2012.

    Government workers in Zimbabwe launched an indefinite strike last month demanding a minimum wage of 502 dollars.

    Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said the increment would not lift civil servants out of “poverty.”

    “We would have been happier if our demands were met. They have scoffed at our demands. The government is not serious about our concerns. They are busy buying each other cars while we are (languishing) in poverty,” said Majongwe.

    Last month, the government bought 140 top-of-the-range American cars for ministers and top officials.

    Finance Minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly said the government’s huge wage bill accounted for 70 percent of Harare’s income.

    The International Monetary Fund last month said that Zimbabwe, which owes foreign lenders some 7 billion US dollars, could not afford to raise salaries as this would lead to arrears on repayments, since its economy was still performing badly. -Sapa-dpa