Strike to Continue Until Friday: Union Leader

Tendai Chikowore of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) who is co-ordinating the strike by civil servants said the job stay away had been successful adding that the civil servants will meet with government representatives on Wednesday to break the deadlock on the salary hike negotiations.

“The strike has been successful and it will go on until the end of the week. Most of our members hid the call to strike today and we expect them to continue until the end of the week,” Chikowore added.

“We are happy with the direction of the strike,” she added.

Zimbabwe government workers currently earn between US$250 and US$350 a month, from a raise in January 2011 from the initial US$150 to US$200 a month since the government introduced the multiple currency system in 2009 after the formation of the shaky unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

A one day strike last week by the civil servants did not have much impact as most workers went to work.

The strike by civil servants has had political undertones with known Zanu PF supporters and officials accusing Tendai Biti, the minister of Finance of failing to increase civil servants salaries.

Biti has said government coffers are dry and that the economy cannot sustain the salary increases. Zanu PF has said the country must use diamond revenue to finance the salary hikes but Biti has also said some of the diamond revenue was not being deposited to treasury.

In his 2012 budget statement last year Biti said Zimbabwe expects to get over US$600 million in diamond sales after the Kimberley Process approved the trade of the country’s gems.