The highest-paid university or college lecturer now earns a basic salary of US$1 880, up from US$800 last year, a development which has incensed representatives of civil servants who are threatening industrial action unless the government awards them similar increments during Thursday negotiations. The rest of civil servants earn an average of US$150 a month against a poverty datum line currently estimated at US$503.
Negotiators from the government and the civil servants, known as the joint national negotiating council, is due to meet on Thursday to discuss new salaries for civil servants, the bulk of which this month got increments ranging between US$6 and US$8, including unformed forces.
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PUTZ), said the teachers’ pressure grouped demanded that the government pay civil servants salaries similar to those awarded to university lecturers.
“If that is what lecturers were awarded, it means they have the money so that is what we will also get,” said Majongwe. “It is upsetting when the government buys cars for Member of Parliament when they can’t do it for civil servants. The government should not be selective,” he added.
Manuel Nyawo, the chief executive of the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, said the government should brace for a showdown and a possible crippling industrial action if Thursday negotiations broke down.
“We are all service providers and therefore should be treated in the same way, we do not expect anything different to that which has been given to lecturers because we will react in a manner which they will not like,” Nyawo said.