EDITORIAL COMMENT:Civil servants deserve more for their efforts PDF Print E-mail

If there is one area in which the inclusive Government will be judged harshly by history, it is the conditions of service for its employees, who have been complaining for the greater part of the four years with strikes marking the uneasy relations between the two parties.


Created : 27 March 2013


Adapted from The Herald of 27 March 2013


Civil servants have been pressing for improved salaries and they received a 5,3 percent salary adjustment at the beginning of the year, an adjustment that they have voiced their displeasure over. As if that was not enough, the Government employees, who drive national processes like elections and examinations, have faced challenges in receiving payment after serving in such exercises.

Added to these unresolved disputes, The Herald reported on Monday that the Government had with immediate effect frozen the processing of transfers and filling of vacant posts in the civil service.
Processing of re-gradings and promotions has also been stopped with Government citing a lack of funds for the move.

The Public Service Commission has indicated that Treasury did not make any provision for any adjustments.
“The resource envelope from Treasury does not have any space to accommodate the highlighted personnel requirements.
This implies that there will be no processing of transfers, re-gradings, promotions, re-appointments and awards of additional increments on the attainment of higher professional qualification with immediate effect,” the PSC secretary, Mrs Pretty Sunguro, said in a letter to heads of ministries.

While it is a fact that the Government has serious financial challenges, there still has to be some incentive to work for the Government.
This is very important because civil servants facilitate many processes that help in the development of business and the growth of our economy.

Surely Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga owe civil servants an explanation, since one provides the funds while the other oversees the public service.
As the face of Government, they should address this simmering discontent before it explodes into full-blown and retrogressive action.

As we have pointed out before, there is serious need for dialogue between the Government and its employees so that conditions of service are negotiated and agreed to reduce chances of conflict.
We believe it is very demotivating and improper for Treasury not to make any provisions for salary adjustments in its budget.
Many employees look forward to the end of the month to receive a salary and beyond that they also want to be recognised through promotion.

Once that incentive is removed, this would definitely affect the performance of the workers who are already weighed down by several other issues.
The latest announcement by the Government has already been declared another point of dispute by the civil servants.
We believe it is not too late for the Government to review its position and engage its employees so that they can come up with a win-win position.

The Government has over the years been hit by brain drain amid labour disputes and without engagement with the workers and agreement on how best to address the conditions of service, the civil servants will continue to feel they were being sacrificed as the Government seeks to raise money for national processes such as elections.

We implore the Government to engage leaders of civil servants so that a culture of dialogue is cultivated to reduce conflict which is not good for labour relations and could result in poor service provision to the public.





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