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Zimbabwe civil servants demand fresh wage negotiations

CIVIL servants have demanded fresh negotiations with government over salary increments as the cost of living continues to rise.

Early this month, government announced a salary increment ranging from 13 to 29 percent, depending on grades, leaving the lowest paid worker getting $600.

However, in the last few weeks, prices of basic commodities have gone up sharply, making it difficult for many to survive, as the local currency continues to lose value against the US dollar.

Apex Council secretary-general David Dzatsunga said they want to engage the government because their increment has been eroded.

"Our agreement with government was based on the situation, which was on the ground during that time. However, prices are increasing and we want to go back to the negotiating table with the government.

"It is now clear that the salary increment is null and void. We had agreed that we were going to sit down in June and assess the performance of the economy against civil servants' salaries. Inflation has eroded our salaries. We need a holistic approach so that we can find a solution."

This comes as the government is under growing pressure from disillusioned citizens over the worsening economic situation - after Mnangagwa was feted in his early days in office for superintending over arguably the most peaceful elections since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

Zimbabweans have, in the past few months, had to contend with rising prices of basic consumer goods and widespread shortages of items such as cooking oil.

This comes as cost of fuel prices have gone up, amid serious shortages of the commodity across the country.

The increase comes at a time when the fuel crisis still persists, with fuel queues having resurfaced in most parts of the country on the back of intermittent supplies as foreign currency shortages bite harder.

Zimbabwe has not had its own currency since February 2009 when it adopted the multiple currency system, in which the US dollar has become the main trading currency.

However, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently said the foreign currency shortages were a result of the expanding economy, which was not matched by the pace of local production.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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