HARARE-The Zimbabwean government has given massive salary increases to its employees over the last few weeks, but workers say it is still not enough to meet their needs in the wake of hyperinflation. On Tuesday, the government granted a 100% salary raise to its employees.
Earlier this month, the government awarded a 400% pay raise to police and soldiers. A soldier previously earned 170,000 Zimbabwean dollars, an equivalent of $184 at the official exchange rate. Before the raise, police officers earned 133,000 Zimbabwean dollars, an equivalent of $144 at the official exchange rate. Teachers who used to earn about 39,000 Zimbabwean dollars ($84) would now earn double that amount. The reviewed salaries will however be paid in local currency.
In a letter addressed to the southern African country’s Public Service Commission, the Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga said COVID-19 allowances have been reviewed upwards from $200 to $250 for all government workers. “The approved framework for remuneration reviews takes into account the requirement to continuously enhance the general welfare of public employees while attempting to stay within the budget and respecting the general rule of maintaining wage bills at sustainable levels so as not to compete with other expenditures,” said Guvamatanga.
But trade union organizations such as the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) denounced the pay raise as ridiculous. “A big lesson to all our colleagues in labor is that our employer has no respect for workers’ side. Teachers remain incapacitated,” said Obert Masaraure, president of the ARTUZ.
In a tweet, ARTUZ said: “The calculation is that the total of the new salary is less than 400 USD which is below the standard cost of living and the basic needs all together. So, it is nothing. The favorable amount for the teachers is $1,260.” Zimbabwe’s consumer price inflation eased to 92.3% percent year-on-year in February 2023, according to official figures.