Zimbabwe public workers accept 140% pay hike, seek more

APEX civil servants
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HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s public sector workers have accepted a 140% salary hike starting this month, a union official said on Wednesday, averting a potential strike against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Soaring inflation has eroded salaries and savings in the southern African nation, which is grappling with its worst economic crisis in a decade, marked by shortages of foreign exchange, food, fuel, electricity and medicines.

Earlier this month, the top public workers union Apex Council rejected a government offer to double pay for employees saying it was too little.

After another round of negotiations which dragged into the early hours of Wednesday, an Apex Council official said workers had accepted a pay deal that would see the lowest paid state employees getting 2,450 Zimbabwe dollars (£112) a month, up from 1,033.

“This increase does not meet our demand but we will take it while we continue pushing the government to pay an increase that is above inflation,” said an Apex official, declining to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press.

Labour Minister Paul Mavima could not be reached for comment.

With year-on-year inflation estimated at 520% in December by economists and the local currency losing value, life is increasingly hard for ordinary Zimbabweans, who also have to contend with the effects of a devastating drought last year.

That has sapped any hope of an economic rebound promised by Mnangagwa when he was elected in a disputed election in 2018.