Public wage freeze rejected

Public service workers have rejected a plan by the Patriotic Front (PF) government to impose a seven months wage freeze on  the entire Civil Service.

According to Union officials negotiating the salary increments for the 2013 bargaining year for the workers in Siavonga, the government had imposed a seven months wage freeze for civil servants throughout the country.

Union sources at the bargaining table confirmed that the PF government was unwilling to increase salaries and improve the conditions of service for the workers.

The union representatives said that government had already submitted their proposals and would be waiting for the union responses later in the day today (yesterday).

“There is heat here; they have imposed on the workers a seven months wage freeze saying that government doesn’t have money to pay more to workers. But we have also argued that this is the same government spending on by-elections and other non productive activities such as hosting of traditional leaders at state house and other PF activities.

We have also reminded this government about the unilateral creation of districts whose funding is unclear. We have asked them to explain where they are getting money for the constitution making process. We have asked them to state where they are getting money for the realignment of districts and creation of these things.

We shall not accept the wage freeze, we did it sometime back and this time around we shall not do it. It is not worth it. We have reminded the PF government that they should not forget that upon forming government the first thing they did was to increase their salaries twice,” they said.

Government sources told the Daily Nation on Wednesday that government was not willing to increase salaries because it had no money to cater for new salaries and the improved conditions of service as demanded by the union.

“The Minister of Finance has indicated that there will be no salary increments for government workers for the next seven months because government has no money for such activities. But as you know the PF government has carelessly promoted by-elections which have gobbled huge sums of monies,” said the official.

The officials said that it was regrettable that the PF government had shown signs of unwillingness to learn from the previous regime’s mistakes with respect to negotiations for salary increments and improved conditions of service.