Sunday, April 28, 2019

Govt sets fortnightly consultations to review civil servants welfare

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THE Government has come up with a comprehensive consultative strategy with its employees that will see an establishment of a platform for engagement, every fortnight, on issues affecting the workers and a periodic review of their salaries. 
The development is part of efforts to improve relations between the two parties.  The employees have been affected by a rising cost of living with indications that their next salary review will be in July. The July salary review comes after Government announced a $400 million cost of living adjustment package, effective this month. It is understood that the meetings, every fortnight, will be chaired by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and are part of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The first meeting is set for next week. The purpose of the meeting is to come up with the agenda for technical committees in preparation for the fully fledged TNF. A TNF Bill is now before Parliament. 
In an interview ahead of the International Workers’ Day commemorations this week, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Sekai Nzenza said Government was also working on introducing non-monetary incentives for its employees such as housing, transport and medical insurance. 
“We are quite excited about the TNF Bill. It is a step in the right direction and it is set to help both parties in the long run. The Bill has been outstanding for seven years and I hope that by the end of May, it will have passed through the National Assembly. 
We have been trying to improve our relations with workers since the disturbances that took place in January such that we are now meeting regularly with both Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) and Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Union (ZFTU). 
“I met with the unions last week and we agreed that the meetings be held fortnightly. Government recently reviewed civil servant salaries with effect from April 1 and we are going to have another salary review in July this year. The cost of living adjustment will, however, run up to December this year. We are also in the process of introducing low income houses and this is at an advanced stage.” 
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Union (ZFTU) secretary-general, Mr Kennias Shamuyarira said relations between Government and workers are improving. 
“There have been commendable steps that Government has been taking such the TNF Bill. Last week, we met with Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza and we agreed that trade unions, which means ZCTU, ZFTU and the Minister will be meeting every fortnight to discuss matters of interest that will be put forward in the TNF. The next meeting is on Thursday, the week after May Day.” 
Government has been putting in place measures to improve the welfare of its employees. Recently, civil servants got the green light to import vehicles duty-free as part of non-monetary incentives. The duty-free scheme is covered by Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019 and will see those with 10 years in service qualifying. In addition, a $60 million housing facility for civil servants was unveiled as part of the non-monetary incentives.