Zimbabwe’s civil servants have rejected a Z$97 a month pay rise from this month saying it is not adequate to cushion them against rising prices.
The government today offered its 309 000 employees a package for Z$180 million for the six months to December which roughly translates to Z$97.08 per employee a month.
This is the third salary adjustment for civil servants this year.
Thomas Muzondo of the umbrella union that represents civil servants, the Apex Council, said the workers had rejected the offer as it translates to only US$11.28 a month.
Some civil servants like teachers have been calling for a basic salary of Z$4 000 a month.
Civil servants are still pegging their salaries on US dollar salaries that they used to earn but Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has urged Zimbabweans to stop thinking in US dollar terms.
Zimbabwe made its local currency the only legal tender for purchasing local goods from 24 June but allowed people to retain their foreign currency accounts. Anyone who wants to use that foreign currency to purchase anything in Zimbabwe must change it to Zimbabwe dollars first.
The move has faced stiff resistance from the public which fears another erosion of their savings as happened in 2008.
The US dollar, according to central bank chief John Mangudya, has become a store of value.
Repeated assurances that 2019 is totally different from 2008 because the government is now living within its means and is making a surplus have failed to convince the population that things have really changed.
The government has blamed speculators for fuelling the situation so that they can cash in on people’s fears but most of the speculators are said to be senior members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
The party’s youth league named some of the culprits but nothing has been done so far to bring them to book leading to speculation that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is powerless to rein them in.