via Civil servants in limbo over job cuts – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 8, 2015 by Richard Chidza
ANXIETY has reportedly gripped the country’s civil servants amid reports that the government was planning to cut its bloated workforce in order to contain its unsustainable wage bill.
Apex Council chairperson Richard Gundane told NewsDay yesterday that there was genuine fear triggered by reports of a looming massive retrenchment in the public service.
The Apex Council represents civil servants’ interests in negotiating working conditions with the government.
“There is a lot of anxiety because people on the ground think they are going to lose their jobs. Nobody knows really what is going to happen. There is fear and apprehension that the government will fire many civil servants,” Gundane said.
“People think they might just wake up tomorrow without a job. Government needs to communicate properly and with speed,” he said.
But Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira dismissed the reports as false and alarmist.
“As far as I am concerned, there will not be a single job loss in government as long as there is no disciplinary issue. Rationalisation means we might need to move people from one station to another to plug gaps and consolidate positions,” Mupfumira said.
She said the government will communicate the position to the Apex Council through proper channels.
“They should not listen to what the media says because there are proper channels through which we communicate with them. Newspapers just write things. Nobody will be fired,” Mupfumira said.
The State media has of late been running stories suggesting that the government was mooting massive retrenchment based on results of a recent audit which established that some employees “were being paid for doing nothing”.
Gundane said the Apex Council would push for a meeting this week to “get the audit”.
“We are disappointed that the media seem to have information that ordinarily we should have been given. We are now pushing for a meeting with the government so that they tell us exactly what is going to happen and how. At our last meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council the issue was discussed, but government representatives claimed they did not have details,” he said.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa indicated in his Mid-term Monetary Policy Statement that the government will need to reduce its wage bill that gobbles no less than 83% of the National Budget by at least 40%.
The statement has been viewed as an admission by government that it was ready to implement reforms on the advice of the International Monetary Fund through a new set of measures in the Staff-Monitored Programme.