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Police disrupt “unsanctioned” ARTUZ demo

Police on Wednesday disrupted a peaceful, albeit unsanctioned demonstration held by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ATUZ) in Harare.

ARTUZ were demanding that Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) president Cecilia Alexander steps down as the civil servants negotiator.

The demonstrations took place as civil servant’s representatives are currently meeting Government for the first time this year.

The meeting is expected to set the roadmap on how public sector wages and conditions of living will be settled in 2022.

“We are here to demand a living wage, we are fully aware that she is in a meeting to represent us but we do not know where she came from, she was never voted to represent us,” fumed ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure.

Two anti-riot police trucks descended on the venue and dispersed placard waiving protesters.

At the time of going to print, Zim Morning Post was yet to establish the number of protesters arrested.

The teachers’ union has been demanding an immediate return to the October 2019 salary scales which saw the least paid civil servant earning around US$500, up from the current US$160 equivalent.

Authorities maintain they cannot meet the aforementioned salary demands of civil servants as they stretch beyond their resource limits.

In a recent update, the Public Service Commission’s secretary, Jonathan Wutawunashe said increments will be effected as the economy improves.

Elsewhere, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima told State Media on Sunday that the Government will table an improved offer to civil servants at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We have our own position, but obviously I cannot disclose it to the press before we meet with the employees,” Mavima said.

“Whatever the outcome, we shall go back to Cabinet where the issue will be discussed. As the employer, we have the best interests of the civil servants at heart….We have always said that we are committed to their welfare as well as meeting their request for salaries to match the money they used to earn in US dollars,” Mavima said.

“But it’s a gradual process and considering the progress we have made as well as exchange rate stability; this is the year to consolidate on that progress. “

Last week, Government announced that civil servants will receive their US$75 monthly risk allowance in US dollars, as will pensioners with their US$30 allowances.