Civil servants restive

CIVIL servants’ union leaders yesterday warned that their patience was fast wearing thin, after the government reportedly chickened out of today’s scheduled meeting to finalise dates and modalities for the payment of the 2016 bonuses.

Source: Civil servants restive – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 27, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Union leaders said the government had, for the third time in a row, deferred the meeting, and this time to March 6.
“The meeting has been moved to the sixth [of March] and to us, it means the government is not sincere. We are quite disturbed by that,” Apex Council chairperson, Cecilia Alexander said.

The Apex Council is the umbrella body for all civil servants’ unions and has been heavily involved in lobbying government to honour its obligations and give concrete dates for the payment of their 2016 bonuses.

Last week, Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira, called off another scheduled meeting with union leaders, saying her ministry had commissioned a survey to establish the number of civil servants prepared to take stands in-lieu of bonus and those wishing to be paid in cash.

“As union leaders, we are now under pressure and our members are calling for [industrial] action,” Alexander said.

“I don’t know what the government wants to achieve. The million-dollar question is if members vote for cash bonuses, do they have the money to pay? I thought it was not prudent to carry out that survey.”

She described Mupfumira’s survey as a futile exercise, adding they would have accepted it had it been conducted by an independent entity.

Mupfumira was unreachable for comment yesterday.

Last week, members of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe downed tools to pressure the government to expeditiously deal with the bonus issue.

The cash-strapped government has, over the past two years, been failing to pay its workers timeously and has been struggling with bonus payments, with President Robert Mugabe directing Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to “find the money without fail”.

Last year, civil servants embarked on a crippling strike over late payment of their salaries.

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