Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) has protested the 10 percent pay hike and counter demanded a 45 percent hike, saying if government fails to address their concerns they will go on strike on Monday as they warned the public to expect the biggest action.
The strike which will include nurses in public hospitals will herald industrial unrest in a major challenge to the government.
If it goes ahead, the strike threatens to disrupt public services.
CSTU general secretary Madalitso Njolomole said the union will meet government negotiating team on Friday morning to find out if their 45 percent demand has been met.
“We held a meeting to solicit views from our members on 10 percent salary increment Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe announced in the proposed 2017/18 National Budget. They have asked us that if government cling to 10 percent hike, then we start strike on Monday,” he said.
“We have not given government the actual increment but we want the lowest paid who is getting K61 000 before tax to reach K75 000 before tax,” said Njolomole.
But Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara accused unions of “rushing” into action while negotiations were continuing.
The civil servants’ push for higher pay rise comes against the background of a warning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the wage bill while strengthening tax compliance to mobilise enough resources in line with the country’s goals.
Following a 15 percent pay hike for the public sector last July, the public sector wage bill rose by K22 billion to K264 billion which, according to Treasury, was 23.3 percent of total expenditure in the K1.3 trillion 2016/17 National Budget.