D-Day for Govt, civil servants

Source: D-Day for Govt, civil servants | The Herald July 1, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government is today expected to pay civil servants $100 advance salary as promised to cushion them despite resistance from unions representing the workers demanding their dues in full.

This comes as the Apex Council, a body that represents all civil servants unions, is also expected to make a final determination today on the way forward after rejecting Government’s offer.

The unions yesterday also distanced themselves from a bogus teachers’ association linked to the MDC-T, the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, which is planning a demonstration at Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s office today.

The workers’ representatives dismissed the planned demonstrations as a publicity stunt by the union, which is not even part of the Apex Council.

Acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Supa Mandiwanzira yesterday confirmed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was working on meeting its obligations.

“The Ministry of Finance is on it and very soon things will be back to normal,” he said. “We appreciate the role that civil servants play in this country. We appreciate their understanding and Government is doing all it can to ensure that things get back to normal in the shortest period possible. Our workers play a significant role in keeping the wheels of Government moving and we respect that.”

Ahead of the Apex Council meeting today, indications are that the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta), the largest teacher union in terms of membership, has resolved to go on a stayaway on July 5.

Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecelia Alexander said the route civil servants would take would come from resolutions of today’s meeting.

“We are a number of unions and we are going to come up with a consolidated response on Friday,” she said.

Government offered civil servants $100 after meeting their leaders on Monday.

In the face of cash flow challenges, Government has managed to pay members in the security sectors.

Teachers are expected to get their salaries on July 7 while health workers and the rest of the civil service will be paid on July 14.

Zimta chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said his union had resolved to embark on a stayaway on July 5.

“Our members are saying they are fed up,” he said. “They have resolved to go on a stayaway and that’s the resolution we are taking to the Apex Council. I am not sure what will come out of that meeting. We are going to be part of the position that is taken tomorrow (today).”

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe said unity amongst the unions would force Government to “rethink its position”.

“We have met the members and got their guidance and we are faced with a situation were for the first time all the civil servants continue speaking with one voice,” he said.

“We want this matter addressed holistically one and for all. We don’t want the behaviour by those who are outside Apex Council who are trying to pull a publicity stunt by threatening to demonstrate at Minister Chinamasa’s office. They are politicking at the hands of donors. We want to address our issues with Government with one voice.”

Government is rationalising the civil service to cut on its wage bill which stands at $200 million per month translating to more than 80 percent of revenue collected.

The rationalisation exercise is expected to save $400 million annually.