Prime Minister tells civil servants diamonds key to better salaries

The Apex Council representing civil servants met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday, to discuss the way forward regarding the salary increases they are demanding.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

A statement released by Tsvangirai’s office after the meeting said discussions had been “fruitful” and the Prime Minister had repeated his position that diamond revenue “will go a long way” to alleviating their plight.

The PM told union leaders that he would be going to Chiadzwa on Thursday to see for himself what is happening in the controversial diamond mining area of Zimbabwe. He also said that he will meet with the Cabinet task force that deals with issues affecting civil servants.

However, we were unable to contact the Apex officials for their comment on the meeting with the Prime Minister.

Earlier negotiations with officials from the government’s National Joint Negotiating Council had failed to produce the salary increments civil servants are demanding. The workers want a minimum salary of US$538, more than double the current minimum of $253.

Minister of Education David Coltart told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that there is no money left after teachers are paid their current salaries, which had been increased to the minimum of $253 last year.

Coltart said the only solution to the crisis faced by Zimbabwe’s teachers is political stability, which would in turn breed confidence in foreign investment and increase the funds in government coffers.

“Beyond the issue of salary increments the teachers are demanding, we need to restore the respect and status within the community that teachers used to have. In countries with the best educational sectors you will find that teachers occupy a revered status in society,” Coltart explained.

Meanwhile, a meeting between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, reportedly to discuss the heated issue of police chief Augustine Chihuri’s expired contract, did not take place as planned on Monday.

The excuse by the Principals was that they also needed to discuss the progress on the constitution making process and had not yet received the latest report from the committee writing the first draft.

Tsvangirai and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have been strongly criticized for agreeing to allow Chihuri to continue as “acting” police commissioner after his contract expired on January 31, without setting a date for his termination and replacement by someone not politically biased.

The lack of urgency on the part of the Principals has now become an issue for Zimbabweans, who are desperate to resolve the deadlocked political crisis that is delaying credible elections. – SW Radio Africa News

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