26 July 2020
We have been inundated with phone calls from desperate civil servants who are seeking clarification on how to access the USD 75 Covid allowance which was purportedly deposited into their accounts by the employer.
The employer anticipated such chaos and it was a well calculated move to distract us from our noble call for the restoration of our USD 520 monthly salary. The well thought out red herring plan is also aimed at diverting us from the historic 31 July protest. Government has issued countless press statements explaining how the fictitious Covid19 allowance can be accessed. A genuine allowance cant attract all these press statements. Government should just deposit the allowance in the normal banking system so that we can easily access the money like other citizens.
The Covid19 allowance was awarded on compassionate grounds according to George Charamba. We would have been grateful if it was accessible. The President is said to have unilaterally stretched his generous hand to cushion the civil servants. We wonder whether these were his personal resources or resources allocated to the President’s office by treasury. Either way it is not right for a President to be paying us allowances. Our employer the Civil Service Commission in consultation with Treasury can make such decisions without any difficulties. Such decisions should only be made after a formal negotiating process between the employer and employees.
Away from the President’s charitable gesture we still demand our USD 520 monthly salary. This figure is way below the poverty line but we are sticking to it as patriots who want to see government saving enough for infrastructure development and stimulating production. This is the same salary we used to earn before our salaries were robbed through the introduction of local currency. It should be noted that we were demanding a pay rise before the currency reforms were effected. Demanding the restoration of our inadequate salary is a compromise made in the best interest of our nation’s developmental agenda.
We are confident that our government has the capacity to restore the value of our salaries given the resources they splash on executive luxuries. Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ has organised solo protests in the past and at one time joined other civil servants under APEX in protesting for a living wage. The COVID19 allowance and past increments were all born out of a fight. On 31 July 2020 it is time to come out of our silo as civil servants and join hands with other citizens who are protesting against corruption and are further demanding USD salaries for all workers. It is common knowledge that some of our colleagues in the security sector are barred from protesting by the constitution. We however call upon all civil servants who have a right to protest at law to join other citizens in protest.
We urge civil servants to create or join an action committee in your neighborhood and help organise for a peaceful community based protest. Victory is certain. Share your community protests with our information department.
ARTUZ INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
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