HARARE – The government has brought forward pay dates for public sector workers in a desperate bid to contain growing unrest.

Teachers, health workers and the police will for the first time be paid on the same day as soldiers on January 14, Treasury Secretary George Guvamatanga said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pensioners and grant aided institutions will be paid on January 16.

Soldiers are traditionally paid mid-month with the rest of government workers paid later in the month.

The announcement came just a day after the Apex Council, representing all government workers, gave notice of nationwide job action within  14 days as civil servants demand improved pay.

Doctors have been on strike for over a month and teachers went on strike when schools opened on Tuesday, demanding to be paid in United States dollars.

Guvamatanga said the government had called another meeting with the Apex Council on Thursday at which the government would give its response to their demands.

He said the decision to pay civil servants early was in recognition of “the urgent need to address these challenges” faced by government employees, chiefly the rising cost of living and loss of value in the RTGS bank balances which have left workers unable to go to work.

Civil servants will be expecting that the government will use the crunch meeting on Thursday to announce salary adjustments and provide definitive timelines of when these will be effected.