civil servants reps.jpgThe majority of civil servants in Harare this Thursday heeded the call by their representative board, the Apex Council, to go on strike following a stand-off with government over salaries review.

A survey carried out by ZBC News revealed that the majority of schools in Harare did not conduct lessons with some children being sent away while others were roaming around school yards with no teachers attending to them.

However, at schools in low density areas, it was business as usual, a situation which has been attributed to incentives which are reported to be higher in former Group A schools.

In other government institutions, workers came to work but quickly returned home.

Although showing regrets for resorting to such action, Apex Council Chairperson, Mrs Tendai Chikowore said civil servants had been left with no choice, adding that the government workers will now meet to map the way forward.

Public Service Minister, Ms Lucia Matibenga refused to talk to the media, saying she has the freedom to talk to whoever she wants at a time she wants to do so.

Since last week, the Ministry of Public Service, which is the civil servants’ employer, has been failing to resolve the salary dispute.

On Tuesday, Minister Matibenga snubbed a meeting with civil servants representatives despite having promised to do so last week.

Meanwhile,  nurses and non-medical personnel employed in the health sector, affiliated to the Zimbabwe Nurses Association have been advised to continue with their duties awaiting an outcome that will emerge on Tuesday the 24th of January, when the association is scheduled to meet with the Health Services Board and map the way forward.

Following proposals by the APEX Council urging civil servants to go on industrial action for one day this Thursday as a way of pressing for their demands to be met by government, the Health Workers Apex Committee held a meeting to map the way forward.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, President of the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association, Mrs Regina Smith, who was in the company of the Secretary General, Mr Simangaliso Mafa and Zimbabwe Nurses Association Harare Province Chairperson, Mr Mugove Chipfurutse, said after deliberations, the Health Workers Apex Committee has resolved to give the Health Services Board until Tuesday the 24th of this month when the two sides are expected to hold a meeting to map the way forward.

Mrs Smith said the committee submitted position papers to the Health Services Board in 2010 and 2011, but nothing positive came out of it.

She added that nurses grades are falling below the rest of the civil service grades while new salary grades were approved and were supposed to be effected from January 2010 but nothing has materialised.

Currently, the lowest paid health worker is getting US$253 per month and the association has proposed US$502 which is the benchmark for the poverty datum line.

Since 2009, nurses have not been getting health specific allowances including uniform allowances, night duty and on call allowances.