Civil servants' demand for higher salaries not sustainable

Civil servants' demand for higher salaries not sustainable
Published: 11 January 2019 (360 Views)
The demand by civil servants to be paid $1 733 per month is not sustainable as government is trying to cut back expenditure. Though justified in demanding for an increase in light of high prices of basic commodities, the whopping 419 percent rise civil servants are demanding is ridiculous.

Economic-wise the demand by civil servants does not make sense. Government is the largest employer and once it gives its workers such salary levels, it would trigger price increases across all sectors as the business sector would also want to get a piece of that salary increase. The unions should therefore revise their demand to levels which are reasonable and in tandem with the "Austerity for Prosperity" strategy so that Government spending is curbed.

One citizen who identifies himself on Twitter as JoshyTZibs commented on the likely negative effects of salary increase which the civil servants are pressing for.

 "Increase salaries and prices will go up threefold zvozobetserei (what will be the benefit of that?). The only way to deal with market distortions is to address the events which triggered them. Budget deficit and excess liquidity in the economy, (which) I think this is what Mthuli is doing".

Another citizen, Valentine Miller,‏  weighed in on the negative effects of the civil servants' demands.

"Inflation (increase will be) caused by Budget deficit which will definitely come after any salary increase is effected because it was not budgeted for and will lead to more Debt to Government (which) will have to borrow to fund such. We are trying to mop up excess liquidity to correct errors already done".

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) under the leadership of Obert Masaraure is brewing a storm in a tea cup by demanding that its members should be paid in hard currency. Masaraure has been joined by the equally rogue teachers body, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

To display their childish behaviour the teachers could be seen playing soccer on the steps which leads to the New Government Complex where the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is housed. Instead of being in classrooms teaching the teachers are loitering on the streets demanding US dollars while not discharging their duties.

Civil servants unions should not only see being rewarded in monetary terms. They should also negotiate for social safety nets through the provision of residential stands so that their members would have a roof above their heads.

The salary negotiations between Government and civil servants unions on 10 January 2019, collapsed after Government offered a 10 percent salary increment which was rejected by the unions' leaders.

This writer encourages civil servants to prioritise negotiations over striking which does not help both parties.

- Elijah Chihota

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