Zimbabwe workers strike pay deal

22 Mar 19

Zimbabwe’s public sector workers have accepted a 20% salary increase for the lowest paid employees, unions have said.

The agreement, signed by the government and the top public workers’ union Apex Council, said: “A cost of living adjustment of $400m [will] be affected across the board for all members of the public service with effect from 1 April.”

This means the lowest-paid workers will earn a monthly gross salary of $570, compared with $441 previously, according to a union official.

Workers will also be able to import vehicles without paying import duty and the government will provide buses to transport employees, according to the agreement.

The government reportedly said this pay increase will cushion workers against double-digit inflation and it hopes the offer will avert a strike. Although analysts have warned the wage hikes could put pressure on inflation, finance minister Mthuli Ncube has said the increases would be within the country’s $8bn budget for this year.

He said last week he expected annual inflation to fall below 10% by the end of the year, from 59.39% in February, because the government would cut its budget deficit by half.

Zimbabwe is gripped by a severe US dollar crunch, causing shortages of fuel, food and medicine, shattering hopes of economic recovery after years of corruption and struggle under Robert Mugabe, who was removed from head of state in 2017.

Public sector workers began protesting earlier this year over pay and in January rejected a 10% pay increase offer from the government.

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