Civil servants go on strike

2010-02-05 22:45

Harare - Zimbabwe's civil servants, including teachers and doctors, went on strike on Friday to demand an increase to their monthly salaries of about $US150, their unions said.

"Our members have declared that they are not going to work from today (Friday)," said Cecilia Alexander, president of the Public Service Association, an umbrella body for the civil servants' unions.

The government has proposed increases of between $7 - 21 for civil servants, who say their wages do not cover even basic living expenses.

"They say they will not come back to work until government gives them something meaningful, some reasonable, something acceptable," Alexander said.

After Zimbabwe's unity government took office nearly one year ago, the local currency was abandoned and civil servants were awarded flat salaries of $150.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti had repeatedly said that the cash-strapped government simply did not have the money to pay them more, as the country struggled to pull itself out of a decade of economic collapse.