(Special for CAFS) Zimbabwean civil servants give notice to strike over low wages

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HARARE, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's umbrella body of civil servant unions has given a notice to go on industrial action, while the government says it will announce remuneration proposals at a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Civil Service Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander on Tuesday wrote to the chairperson of the Public Service Commission Vincent Hungwe informing him that the unions were giving a 14-day notice of intention to strike.

"The reason for this step is premised on the incapacitation of our members and the failure by the government to address the same. The incapacitation comes in the wake of the erosion of our static salaries due to the sky rocketing cost of living," Alexander said in the letter.

She added that despite numerous meetings between the workers and the government, there had been no way forward in addressing the workers' plight.

However, Hungwe said Wednesday in a statement that new wage proposals would be presented to the workers through the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) before the end of the week.

The NJNC is a statutory negotiating platform for the government and civil servants' associations which fixes negotiated agreements on salaries and conditions of service.

Civil servants are agitating for wage increases following hefty increases in the prices of basic commodities and other services in the past two months.

Junior doctors at government health institutions are already on a prolonged strike which started Dec. 1, 2018.

"Government will announce an integrated cost of living adjustment and the NJNC will meet not later than Thursday," Hungwe said.

Hungwe said among key issues to be discussed was how the cost of living adjustment would be distributed to rural as compared to urban workers as well as identification of non-monetary benefits including provision of land for housing, mortgages as well as vehicle loans.

The proposed meeting would also discuss establishment of a public service pension scheme, Hungwe said.

"Government remains committed to engaging its workers and improving their salaries and conditions of service," he said.

A meeting convened by the government and workers on Monday to address the same issues had left things hanging in the air. Enditem

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