Source: D-Day for civil servants’ bonus | The Herald March 6, 2017
Felex Share Senior Reporter
THE position on the payment of civil servants’ 2016 annual bonuses will be finalised today, as the workers’ representatives meet a high-profile delegation of four Government ministers and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya.
The ministers expected to be part of today’s indaba are Cde Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development), Cde Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare), Cde Saviour Kasukuwere (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing) and Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care).
Members from the Civil Service Commission will also be part of the meeting.
Minister Mupfumira yesterday said a deal would be hammered today, as all the key stakeholders were available.
A fresh proposal, she said, would be tabled to the workers.
“We will meet them to discuss the issue of bonuses,” she said. “Other issues on the agenda include the option of stands in lieu of bonuses and the rentals for civil servants who are staying in Government properties.
“Government is cognisant of the fact that its employees have not received an increment, hence the need to reduce their burden. The meeting is a continuation of a bonus indaba which was held in January where the two parties resolved to consult their constituencies.
“The follow-up meeting, which was scheduled for February 27, could not be held as one of the key stakeholders was not available. We expect to map the way forward in the meeting and we have options as the employer that will be tabled. We want to bring closure to the bonus issue and focus on other issues that improve the conditions of service of the workers.”
During the meeting held in January, Government offered three proposals to settle the 2016 bonuses.
The options included residential stands, a cash stipend coupled with non-monetary benefits and property investment bonds.
Civil servants union leaders rejected all the proposals, yet some of the workers were in favour of residential stands option.
This forced Government to conduct a separate survey where it solicited views of its workers who do not fall under the unions.
The union leaders saw this as an infringement on their rights and threatened to demonstrate, before reversing their decision on Friday to give dialogue a chance.
This came after an attempt by some opposition activists to hijack the planned strike.
The unions’ representatives want their bonuses in cash.
Minister Mupfumira said while workers had a right to strike, they had to do it within the confines of the law.
“There are laid-down procedures to be followed before workers go on industrial action,” she said. “In the case of civil servants, there are legal channels that should be exhausted before undertaking a strike. There has to be a deadlock and in this case there was no stalemate.”
She added: “We will continue exploring avenues that will improve the workers’ welfare. My ministry is the custodian of labour issues and we will strive to be the employer of choice.”
Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander said the outcome of today’s meeting would determine the workers’ next course of action.
She insisted that the 13th cheque should be paid in cash.
“The bonus/stands offer by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is new to us because we have a credible process that we have invested our energies in,” she said.
“We always advise the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to always consult with the unions first before rushing to the media.”
Government has been operating on a tight budget that has seen civil servants’ salaries being delayed in some cases.
The situation is being rectified and most workers are now receiving their salaries within the month worked.