Zim Civil Servants March Over Low Salaries

Carrying placards that read “Leave our Diamonds Alone, Decent salaries equals decent workers”, the protesters marched to the public service minister’s office to present their demands.

“There was a diamond auction and we also want that money as workers,” Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, said to a rapturous applause.

“A few days ago there was another secret diamond sale and we also want part of that money.”

Zimbabwe has held two diamond auctions since last month, after the global Kimberley Process regulator allowed limited sales from fields where soldiers are accused of beating and torturing civilians to make them mine the gems.

Results of the sales have not been released.

Government employees earn $150-250 a month, but are demanding $500-600 a month.

“Government has delayed to review civil servants’ salaries, and negotiations have been dragging on for a long time,” said Tendai Chikowore, president of Public Servants Association.

Public Services Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said that the government understood the plight of workers.

“Everything possible is being done so that the concerns are addressed,” he told the protesters, adding that wage talks were ongoing with representatives of the 230 000 government employees.

Zimbabwe’s civil servants, particularly teachers, nurses and doctors, have been striking on and off over better salaries since 2008.