25 January 2012
The national union of workers associations, CESTRAR (Centrale des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Rwanda) has welcomed the recent government announcement to increase salaries of civil servants, terming the development as a 'timely move'.
The Secretary General of CESTRAR, Eric Manzi, however called on the government to ensure that the increase does not trigger a price hike.
The workers body announced Monday that the new government salary structure, which will particularly see teachers' salaries increase by 50 percent over the next six years, will go a long way in solving salary imbalances among civil servants.
"We think this new policy will also encourage retention in the public service rather than them moving for greener pastures after gaining experience, and it will also serve as a motivation to improve on service delivery.
"But especially we welcome the fact that teachers with the A2 qualification will be the first to benefit from the new policy, effective this month. These have for long been forgotten," Manzi commented.
CESTRAR noted that while the decision is welcome and the annual increments a bonus, market statistics show that there is still a long way to go, with commodities going up and the global economic situation unpredictable.
"Teachers need to be facilitated to cope more with the consumer prices on the market. We urge the government to watch closely so that businesses don't use this as an excuse to increase prices on the market," Manzi warned.
CESTRAR also welcomed the recent development where over 2,400 employees of SORWATHE, the largest tea producer in the country, signed a collective bargaining agreement between the tea firm and two of the country's leading trade unions to benefit the workers.
Manzi said that the move, which is aimed at improving the social welfare of employees and advance future negotiation of terms with their employers, opens the way for similar initiatives in the country.
"CESTRAR welcomes the fact that the government is supporting these initiatives. Like the new salary policy, we believe that in future when all workers come together to have collective bargaining rights, the welfare of workers will greatly improve.
"This will facilitate the new initiatives by both government and other employers aimed at establishing minimum wage categories," Manzi observed.
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