Healthcare workers have officially gone on strike demanding restoration of USD salaries while the Apex Council has rejected the government offer of a 50 percent salary adjustment and USD75 COVID-19 allowance for all civil servants saying it was not consulted about the decision.
The healthcare workers said that salaries must revert back to October 1st, 2018 digits that were quoted in USD.
“In that way pensions, savings, medical aids, funeral policies will not continue to be eroded. Therefore, we would like to officially communicate as the Health Apex that health workers have withdrawn their services with immediate effect until our demands have been met,” the Health Apex said in a statement.
The Apex Council, representing all civil servants, described the COVID-19 allowance as merely an acknowledgement of the need to pay workers in USD.
“Matters to do with conditions of service have to be a product of consultation between social partners at forums provided for at law. No party should unilaterally decide for others as is the case here,” Apex said adding that it stands by its position paper that says that all salaries should be paid in USD and that the figures be a product of negotiation.
The council was equally dismissive of the 50 percent salary adjustment and called for an urgent National Joint Negotiating Council meeting to deliberate on salaries and conditions for workers in order to co-own the outcomes.
“As far as the 50 percent salary adjustment is concerned we take note but want to clarify that it is thumb-suck and not with our input.
“In conclusion the Civil Service Apex Council appreciates government’s efforts to address the plight of its workers and the acknowledgement, though belated, that the economy has effectively dollarized and so should salaries,” Apex said.
Government announced the 50 percent salary review for all civil servants and an interim USD75 allowance to cushion its employees against the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which economists described as a move towards re-dollarisation of the economy.
This interim arrangement is for a period of three months starting from this month.
Government also advised all civil servants to immediately open US dollar denominated Nostro accounts with their banks to smoothen the process of payment.
However, there has been intense speculation especially among the civil servants that the government will not pay its workers the USD in cash but will instead convert it into local currency despite the Finance Ministry insisting the contrary.