THE Government is working on non-monetary benefits including a cost-effective solar power facility for civil servants to be rolled out in the first quarter of the year in an effort to improve their conditions of service.
Other schemes include the introduction of medical and pension fund schemes, vehicle import, housing and establishment of a public service training academy to upgrade workers’ skills.
Non-monetary benefits were not on the agenda at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum that met on the sidelines of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel workshop where a salary increase deal was struck this week in Victoria Falls.
However, the issue was topical during NJNC discussions where both Government and public service representatives concurred that improving working conditions was key to the country’s socio-economic development.
Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government was committed to improving the conditions of service for public servants.
The minister said he would be seeking final Cabinet approval for the establishment of the Public Service Academy in the next few weeks.
Public Service Commission deputy chair Ambassador Mary Margaret Muchada said a cost-effective solar project for civil servants will be rolled out. An extra 30 buses will be added to the 60 already dedicated for civil servants’ transport in a scheme launched last year.
“We have over 60 buses on the road for civil servants and we are expecting 30 more in the not so distant future. Their fares are not economical but the Government is subsidizing for the sake of workers.
“The PSC is pursuing a project for cost-effective solar power facilities at civil servants’ households in the next three months. The repayment period will be spread over a reasonable period of time,” said Ambassador Muchada.
She said plans were advanced for the establishment of medical and pension fund schemes under which employee benefits will be invested in the money market with the help of Treasury.
Ambassador Muchada said the PSC was engaging the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities over a civil servants’ housing scheme.
Apex Council president Mrs. Cecilia Alexander said Government had for a long time not prioritized civil servants’ non-monetary needs.
“Non-monetary benefits like pension, healthcare, and housing schemes are critical for civil servants. Administration of pensions has been a thorny issue with some citizens dying miserable deaths and many of the victims of land barons are civil servants who have been conned while some had their houses demolished after being duped. We need clear ways of putting non-monetary benefits in place as we address conditions of service,” she said.