At their current salary levels civil servants can hardly survive and have to live from hand to mouth. Their concerns are genuine and need to be looked into with the seriousness they deserve.
The lowest paid civil servant will now get a basic salary of US$159, up from US$128 a month.
Housing and transport allowances have been pegged at US$50 and US44 respectively.
At face value these figures may appear measly but it means more headaches for Finance minister Tendai Biti who has maintained that the government’s purse is empty.
He has also complained that the money generated from diamond sales is not coming into the national coffers.
Despite spirited attacks from Zanu PF leaders including President Robert Mugabe, Biti has remained steadfast that a hefty salary increment for civil servants was not possible without risking the reversal of the economic gains made by the inclusive government so far.
The announcement by the government of an increment, though largely unsatisfactory to the unions, should be welcomed.
What needs to be explained is where the money is coming from and whether something can be done, further than this, to improve the plight of civil servants.
One way of ensuring that the civil servants get a better deal is to weed out the thousands of ghost workers who are milking the fiscus.
Most of these ghost workers are graduates of the Border Gezi training camps who were employed by the Ministry of Youth and Gender Development to ensure that they remain loyal to Zanu PF.
Without these on the salaries bill, Biti may find it easier to please the civil servants.