Zimbabwe civil servants to down tools over pay raise

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FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe's civil servants carry placards as they march during a protest in the streets of the capital Harare, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s civil servants carry placards as they march during a protest in the streets of the capital Harare, February 19, 2010./REUTERS

Government services in Zimbabwe could be disrupted as civil servants start a nationwide strike to demand for better wages after last minute negotiations with the government failed.

They are pressing for higher wages that are pegged to the US dollar.

Zimbabwe has the world’s highest inflation rate which has eroded civil servants’ wages to around $70 (£54) a month.

The government on Tuesday fired 77 doctors who have downed their tools for the past two months demanding salary increment.

On Tuesday, the civil servants said in a statement that government had “brought nothing to the table, completely with zero offer, zero cushion… and to add insult to injury government has gone back on its earlier offer to pay all bonuses in November.”

In 2018, civil servants were earning an equivalent of $475 (£385) a month before high inflation set in. They want those salaries restored but talks with the government have collapsed.

The economic crisis in the country is escalating and basic commodities such as bread and milk are now considered luxuries.

Health workers are already in a two-month strike and discontent is spreading.

Whereas the government says it cannot afford to increase wages, critics say the pay demands can be met – but only if government slashes on misplaced priorities and lavish spending.

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