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Apex Council doing us a disservice

ALLOW me through you paper to register my displeasure over the salaries we in the public service are being paid.

The meagre salaries are an act of violence on inn

ocent souls by a regime led by a man with “degrees in violence”, supported by central bank governor Gideon Gono’s quest for fiscal discipline.

In fact, we are being “sacrificed” for economic recovery as the governor said. This is evil.

Our problems are compounded by the civil service Apex Council comprising Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) and the Government Workers’ Association (GWA) who are useless and ineffective.

Our representatives have failed dismally to bargain for our mid-year cost of living adjustment awards (Cola) and performance-related awards as promised.

Despite the arrival of the much-awaited Labour Relations Amendment Act No 17(2002) which ushered in collective bargaining at macro level, civil servants still earn salaries below the minimum wage and 40% below the poverty datum line (PDL) of $1,4 million.

Imagine a senior teacher with 10 years of teaching experience earning a salary less than half that of a messenger at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This is a shocking revelation. But why?

As civil servants, we are in this mess due to poor leadership within the Apex Council. Our leadership (names supplied) is a disaster. They lack the basic attributes of union leaders. Let us remove them as they have failed to deliver.

Our party to the national joint negotiating council (NJNC) lacks basic collective bargaining techniques since they have failed to exploit the provisions of the Act to our advantage.

The Public Service Commission has successfully relegated them to a pressure group status yet we have collective bargaining privileges because of their failure to articulate the provisions of the Act. The PSC will thus continue to negotiate in bad faith contrary to the law.

Allow me to quote a few recent instances:

* They have failed at three meetings to solve the current impasse over the current Cola negotiations;

* They tabled a request for 100% mid-year Cola on June 18. Is this not a disaster;

* It took them six months to solve our January Cola award yet the Arbitration Act stipulates the settling of disputes within 30 days. The leadership should simply resign since it has failed.

The employer in September increased our housing and transport allowances which the leadership had not bargained for. The latest flop is when the leadership demanded a 100% pay increase only to get a notch which at 10% of one’s salary, was an insult to a senior teacher.

Staff associations have failed to form unions as provided by the Act. The leadership should explain why. Why are they wasting resources blocking Colaz and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) from forming unions for the education sector yet the Act actually allows multiplicity of unions?

Collective bargaining is failing due to politics of patronage.

Civil servants have suffered for too long because staff association leaders mix unionism with politics for their selfish personal gains.

Sources say Zimta representatives to the NJNC are currently contesting for political positions within Zanu PF. This is not bad, it’s their democratic right, but should not be at the expense of our salaries.

In fact, one of the leaders was promised a ministerial post if he wrestles the Hatfield seat from the MDC.

Surely, how can he seriously stand for our interests? Our leaders are sell-outs, the government is using them to suppress us.

Staff association leaders do not consult their constituencies, let alone provide feedback. Teachers recently demanded a work-stoppage to force the employer to comply but our leadership refused. Whose wars are they fighting?

Their actions were simply to buy time to please the evil. But behold, God is watching! They will be punished for that.

The battle of the mid-year Cola award is lost. What pains me is that staff associations failed to convince the employer to declare an impasse hence the need for arbitration.

Our representatives have failed and it is time we call for a vote of no confidence. For teachers, let’s renounce our membership of Zimta. It is time we demanded the immediate formation of Zimbabwe Educators Union, which will embrace Zimta, PTZ, TUZ and Colaz.

The Zimbabwe Educators Union will be in a position to engage experienced designated agents to bargain for us since history tells that we have failed in this area.

The Apex Council has been failing to conclude collective bargaining with government before the announcement of the national budget.

The collective bargaining process should be concluded within the shortest time-frame possible. Gono will not tolerate a supplementary budget if his targeted 200% inflation rate is to be achieved.

The leadership we elected to champion our cause chose to dine with the devil at our expense. The money they are conniving with the devil to save in the name of fiscal discipline will in the near future fund evil acts of rape, torture, intimidation and killing of your fellow countrymen, come election time.

What we need now is divine intervention to save us from the grip of the devil.

Musoro WeGagawe,


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