Civil servants are lobbying for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) from their employer, less than a month after receiving bonuses in foreign currency. Civil servants were also paid their December salaries last week.
Speaking in an interview with Business Times, civil service Apex Council deputy secretary-general Gibson Mushangu said they want another cushion before their next paycheck.
Mashangu said without a cushioning allowance, government workers will struggle to pay school fees when schools open in January 2022. He said:
We appeal to the government to deposit a cushion amount which will take us to the family basket of ZWL$54 000 after factoring in the ZWL$22 000 salaries we got in December.
The salaries which were paid on December 17, 2021, has already been spent due to the fact that our wages are too little.
Our salary of ZWL$22 000 per month has been overwhelmed within six days of payment and it’s very unfortunate that it has come in December and January where we have Christmas, new year and schools opening.
We don’t know what we are going to do there but all we can say is that we have hit the hard times before the festive season with the situation expected to be tougher after the holidays.
Civil servants are pushing for the restoration of their pre-October 2018 salaries which were about US$520 on average.
Alternatively, they want the Government to pay their pre-October salaries in Zimbabwe dollars converted at the inter-bank rate. Said Mashangu:
The rate [is now] ZWL$200:US$1 on the parallel market and with our ZWL$22000 we are getting US$110 while based on the auction rate we are getting US$208 per month which is still too low for our needs.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), the cost of living for a family of six was ZWL$54 264.24 in November. It rose from about ZWL$35 000 in June this year.
A police officer who preferred anonymity told Business Times that the Government should consider a serious review of their salaries. Said the police officer:
As for the basket, it is double my salary therefore I cannot enjoy the festive season later alone preparing for the back to school in early January.
The authorities should increase salaries as we have families to look after.