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Civil servants sweat over bonuses as government coffers are empty

HARARE – The government says its coffers are empty and as a result some of its employees will not get their bonuses this month as expected, ...

HARARE – The government says its coffers are empty and as a result some of its employees will not get their bonuses this month as expected, much to the annoyance of leaders of the workers’ representatives.

Speaking to Studio 7 after meeting leaders of workers’ representative bodies in Harare yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche (pictured) said the government wouldn’t be able to pay bonuses to all its workers as expected because its coffers are empty.

Goche said this decision was reached following consultations with the finance ministry.

But Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary, Raymond Majongwe, said government workers should be treated equally.

President of the Progressive Educators Union of Zimbabwe, Wilson Makanyaire, echoed the same sentiments saying government should walk its talk on its promises for its employees’ bonuses.
Civil servants sweat over bonuses as  government coffers are empty
Meanwhile, Goche said negotiations between government and its employees for salary adjustments are expected to resume next month.

However, Majongwe warned that civil servants may down their tools if the negotiations do not yield the desired results.

Civil servants say they want their salaries increased so that the least paid worker earns at least $680 per month.

A recent survey conducted by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe concluded that a family of six requires at least $592 per month to survive.

Currently, the least paid government employee earns $250.

In a related development, Civil servants have asked government to allow them a once-off opportunity to import motor vehicles of their choice, duty free as part of improving their welfare.

In a position paper submitted to government ahead of the presentation of the 2015 national budget, civil servants also demanded a minimum monthly salary of $680.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa is expected to present the budget in the next two weeks and government workers yesterday met Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche to express their position.

In the position paper, the workers said salaries should be premised on realistic figures covering transport, accommodation, school fees, health, food and incidentals as informed by the current pricing regime. “We demand that government allows civil servants a once-off opportunity to import a motor vehicle of their choice, duty free,” reads the paper.

“The lowest paid employee’s salary must be pegged at $680 as informed by the current pricing regime of goods and services. Government should avail valued residential stands payable over an agreed period of time.”

Government is forking out over $155 million in salaries for 230,000 civil servants every month.

Civil servants proposed that government comes up with an empowerment facility for its workers like giving them farms, mining concessions and shares in companies.

“Government should also make special consideration for pensioners whose contributions were eroded during the hyperinflationary era,” reads the position paper.

“Government should address the de-bunching of salaries within a grade so as to recognise rank, experience and qualifications.”

The workers said Minister Chinamasa’s budget should provide for collective bargaining in the Civil Service to give effect to provisions of section 65 of the Constitution.

“Government should put in place policies that enhance economic revival through promoting domestic market, foreign direct investment and industrial growth. In our view, the 2015 budget should transform the living standards of civil servants.”

They urged government to “walk the talk” on salaries saying their income had been distressed since the introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009.

“In the light of the Zim-Asset blueprint, civil servants believe the time is ripe for government to ensure quick wins are implemented with the social service and poverty reduction cluster where our concerns are premised,” said the paper.

“This has the direct effect of empowering its workers in the areas of agriculture, mining and manufacturing, among others.

“We note that government promises for salary increments and non-monetary incentives have remained a pie in the sky and urge the government to walk the talk on these important issues.” – VOA/Harare Bureau.

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