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ARTUZ POSITION ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE MUTUAL FUNDS (GEMS

05 February 2021

The need to cushion government employees is of immediate concern and importance as it serves to help in this current inflationary and unpredictable economic environment. However when it comes with a lot of disputable and unclear conditions then the civil servants deserves to speak out. The idea of making salary deductions compulsory goes against the nature of government-employee labour relations and is outside the requisites of the law. Employees should not be forced into subscribing to a fund that they have no option to choose into. As employees, civil servants are not under any financial obligation to be coerced, the compulsory nature is a despotic move and civil servants should be given a choice whether to be part of the fund or not.

The government of Zimbabwe should desist and stop from making pronouncements and decisions on behalf their employees without consulting them, the government made a unilateral declaration of the fund without consulting all relevant stakeholders. Members of the civil service according to section 203(1) (b) mandates the Public Service Commission to engage in collective bargaining when fixing and regulating conditions of service including salaries… collective bargaining seeks to bring together the employer and the employee to reconcile the differences and we the employee will not accept anything short of a mutual understanding.

It is a regrettable situation that our employer chooses not to reform but is actually amplifying their inhumane and unjust treatment of their employees, the civil servants, non-alignment of laws continue to be their only escape and is exhibited by such regrettable and reckless pronouncements that reflect ignorance and no appreciation to the suffering that the teachers are going through.

The right to collective job action should be exercised if the employing authority seeks to further diminish civil servants dignity. Our concern does not stem from the majority of civil servants from being exempted from this scheme but from how corrupt capitalist monopoly and loan sharks have been proven by history will take advantage of this scheme. Time and history has shown that the very same people who propose such type of practises are usually the owners and corrupt beneficiaries.

We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to sit down with the relevant stakeholders to make this a universal agreement on all fronts as this will affect the unrepresented in this situation who are the civil servants and it is a disturbing trend that they have no say in affairs that affect their livelihood and working conditions, this is what is referred to as unsafe working conditions for nothing is guaranteed.

In 2019 Zimbabwe was listed as being amongst the worst countries with regards to adopting regressive laws by the ITUC Global Rights Index and such actions and pronouncements do not help in cleaning that image.

We continue to demand the restoration of our US$520 monthly salaries. Prices of commodities have increased this week, automatically decreasing real wages of the already impoverished teachers. ZUPCO a government entity is now charging fares in foreign currency for urban commuting in some cities, this is a clear sign that the market is rejecting the RTGS dollar making teachers who are being payed below the Poverty Datum Line in RTGS dollars worse off, at a time when the informal sector that supplement teachers salaries is locked down. The market indicators on the performance of the RTGS$ justify our legitimate demand for the restoration of our US$520 monthly salaries.

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