Zimbabwe’s inflation rate has hit 290 percent - the second highest in the world after Venezuela. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Harare ‑ The government of Zimbabwe on Wednesday awarded a $129 local currency cost of living adjustment to civil servants, as the economy continues to crumble amid inflation.

On the black market, that would be about US$40.

"The cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $400 million would be effected across the board for all members of the public service with effect from April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019,” the National Joint Negotiating Council said in an agreement following a meeting held in Harare.

The lowest-paid worker in Grade B1 will now be getting $570, up from $441.

In the past few months, educators have been demanding a salary raise which would have seen the least-paid getting $1,700 in local currency.

They then increased their demand to $3 000 following the debasing of the local currency last month.

“In addition to the COLA, the parties also agreed to continue their engagement in order to address the following; (i) to employ additional Public Service buses to augment the current fleet, (ii) to implement Statutory Instrument 52 of 2019 that exempts the Public Service from paying vehicle import duty within the set monetary thresholds, (iii) to undertake the agreed study tours to facilitate the establishment of Public Service Collective Bargaining Council by June 2019 and (iv) for government to provide appropriate medical services to civil servants,” the agreement further read.

The negotiating council also agreed on the implementation of a statutory instrument which allows civil servants to import cars free of duty.

“Negotiations would continue to consider sector-specific allowances and other non-monetary incentives,” the agreement read.

Negotiations for a further salary review, according to the council and Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander, will continue with other non-monetary incentives being considered.

The government of Zimbabwe has been battling to contain civil servants who are continuously finding it hard to survive after their salaries were eroded by inflation.

Last week, senior medical doctors from the country’s major referral hospital temporarily downed tools demanding consumables.

They made a passionate plea saying they had presided over so many deaths, which is against their mandate of saving lives.

African News Agency (ANA)