Zimbabwe public sector workers rejected an improved salary increase offer of 15% from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and want wages for lowest paid employees to more than double, the main public sector union said.
Government last week agreed to raise salaries by 10% for the military, police and other civil servants from July, when Zimbabwe is expected to hold its first general election since Robert Mugabe left power last year.
Apex Council, the union representing all government workers, said Government’s higher offer was still below the poverty datum line (PDL) used to assess whether a person is deemed poor.
Zimbabwe’s PDL is $591, while the lowest government worker earns $253 a month.
The southern African nation spends more than 90% of its national budget on salaries and pensions, but Mnangagwa is trying to curb strikes by public workers before the elections, whose date he is yet to announce.
The new president, who came to power following a de facto army coup against 94-year-old Mugabe in November, has already faced public sector anger when doctors and nurses went on strike in March and April.
“We would like to urge government to improve the salaries of the lowest paid to PDL,” Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said. “We have not yet reached a deadlock. Dialogue is ongoing,” Alexander added.