ZAMBIA in 2020 has woken up to the inescapable reality, a reality of having civil servants as the trade elite beating the private sector salary earners.
This was a figment of imaginations in the Government of yesteryears and the largest employer has led an example of having a financially motivated workforce.
When the Patriotic Front assumed the control of the affairs of the Nation, its developmental agenda was entitled, “Zambians do not only deserve better life, they are entitled to better life.”
In pointing at a correct appraisal regarding the PF’s appraisal regarding the implementation of this motto, we here now use the conditions of service for public service workers as a yardstick for measuring the performance.
Driving back to the memory lane, the 2006 and 2011 general elections were all characterized by the massive industrial un-rest and the work stoppages.
The stoppages pointed at the failure of then Government’s of the day to improve the conditions of service.
However, since the transition from MMD, there has been no work stoppage by civil servants on their conditions of service, an indication that there is constructive dialogue between the Government and its employees.
It is therefore of paramount importance to conduct a self evaluation of the role the Patriotic Front Government has played to restore the dignity of civil servants.
Let’s drive back to the memory lane and point at the notable discontent in the public service as well as do the comparative analysis of the neighbouring nations in so far as improving service conditions is concerned.
While other economies have not consistently paid civil servants, in Zambia delay to give what is due to them has virtually be-come history.
Prior to the coming of the PF Government, it was unattractive to be a public servant especially in sectors such the teaching profession, the health and the security wings.
The scale of remuneration and the housing units were inadequate and it was virtually impossible for civil servants to have ac-cess into decent housing, send their children to Universities and possibly upgrade their academic progression. This was owing to the constrained take home after their pay day.
However, lately, the civil servants are nearly in all Universities upgrading their qualifications on a self sponsorship basis. Some have succeeded in sending their kids to prestigious Universities including the foreign Universities.
In fact, the children of civil servants can no longer be said to be part of the vulnerability status owing the adjustments of their pat check.
The civil servants started seeing the pro-poor proclamation after they had a sudden 200 per cent salary increment effective 1st September, 2013.
This life changing and watershed historically significant saw the civil service an attractive and a lucrative investment for the young people who had seen it as their destination.
This broke the generational divide of having public service workers at the bottom of the pay pyramid.
In 2015, the civil servants had their salaries increased by the substantial amount of 29 per cent. In 2019, a further 4 per cent was effected while in 20 per cent an average of 10 per cent and this represents an average of 250 per cent consolidated earnings of civil servants salary increment of civil servants. All the above points at the political will by the Government to uplift their living standard.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI