Salary increment narrative: A ploy to rig fair wage perception.
24 July 2021
The government of Zimbabwe, under the fiscal management of Professor Mthuli Ncube, has developed a knack of manufacturing a non existent reality. A notion of economic improvement is consistently reinforced into people’s minds through both reengineering of facts and relentless propaganda. Unfortunately those who fall victim to the expert social engineering and psychological manipulation only find themselves in want of basics when they consciously confront the real life.
The exchange rate for the local currency has been successfully manipulated and our local currency has been holding fort on the formal market but the opposite is happening in the market. The value of the local currency is obviously depreciating judging from price hikes but our government insists that an average of 1USD : ZWL 85.00 has been maintained for months now.
This is the same approach being employed to civil servants’ salaries by Ncube. The Professor has cooked a narrative of awarding regular increments to civil servants yet in fact the same value of salaries is being maintained through adjusting to inflation. The manipulation of the exchange rate may tempt one to believe that they are now earning more but figures for Poverty Datum Line are consistently way above the “increased” salaries.
The Mthuli strategy is informed by the “Fair wage- effort theory.” The theory summarised as, e=w/w* where e= labour input or effort w= real wages w*= perceived fair wage. If the value of e=1 it is generally proven that the workers fully commit themselves to their work. In other words, workers fully commit themselves when the real wage matches their perceived fair wage.
There are two ways of achieving e=1. Either you increase the value of the real wages to match the perception of fair wage in the minds of the workers or you engineer and lower the perceived fair wage so that it matches the static wage being paid.
Mthuli Ncube chose the latter tactic which feeds into the neo liberal agenda of harsh austerity measures. The wages dont have to be increased but the perception of an increment has to be reinforced to engineer a lower perception of fair wage.
Unfortunately for Mthuli Ncube the workers’ perception of fair wage is solidly benchmarked on the value of pre October 2018 salaries. No wage will be perceived fair until the value of pre October 2018 salaries is restored.
To that end, the input of civil servants towards service delivery is not going to improve until Mthuli realises that civil servants are not stupid. Soldiers are now engaging in robberies to supplement their paltry real wages, police officers are working hard at corruption and other civil servants are simply not working.
Teachers have taken to extra lessons and declared themselves incapacitated to attend to their duties in the formal public schools. Post the current lockdown, schools will not open unless Ncube decides to attend to the real wages not the perceptions.
Congratulations to the civil servants who continue to resist the fraud of perception engineering. The improvement of salaries will only be measured by improved access to quality services. Luckily we have the pre October 2018 value to benchmark with.
ARTUZ National President