No work, no pay: Govt on stay away

Source: No work, no pay: Govt on stay away – Sunday News Jul 17, 2016

Tinomuda Chakanyuka Sunday News Reporter
CIVIL SERVANTS who embark on unlawful job action in future risk having their salaries cut for the days they will be absent from work as it is Government policy that “no work no pay”. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said although a decision was yet to be made regarding docking salaries from workers who took part in the 5 July stay away called by worker unions due to late payment of salaries, in future, workers who embark on unlawful job action will face the consequences.

She also confirmed that Civil Service Commission inspectors went around Government institutions on the day of the civil servants stay away compiling data on workers who did not report for work. Minister Mupfumira said although she was yet to be appraised on what action would be taken to those who did not report for work, it was Government policy that if a worker does not report for work without a valid reason, then the employer will dock the salary for the day or days.

“What I know is that inspectors went around schools to see who was at work and who was not. They have a register which has reasons and I am yet to be appraised on what action has been taken. I would need to find out what disciplinary action will be taken, if any. There is no victimisation here. Normally we say no work no pay. If others work and you don’t and still get paid, how will those who reported for work feel? People must know in future that no work no pay,” she said.

However, Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said an agreement had been reached with their employer that workers who took part in the 5 July job action should not be punished, as they did so at the behest of their labour unions.

“We met with our employer on Monday and presented our case and the response we got was that it was not Government position to victimise workers who went on strike. As far as I am concerned, the situation has since been addressed after the meeting. We asked all those that had their salaries docked to submit their names and they have since been paid their salaries. If there are any who were affected we are calling on them to bring their cases forward for redress,” she said.

Responding to Minister Mupfumira’s sentiments that the job action was illegal Mrs Alexander said, “I don’t know if we can call it a strike or what but the situation on the ground was that workers were incapacitated to come to work because they had not been paid,” she said.

In addition, some civil servants have started receiving charge sheets concerning their participation in the stay away, which was held without following labour rules. Part of the letter, in Sunday News possession which was written to a teacher at a school in Bulawayo by the school head reads in part:

“This office notes with concern that you acted dishonestly on 05/07/2016 when clocking out. You failed to follow lawful clocking regulations. You clocked ahead of the actual time you left school campus. The office views your action as unprofessional and as such your action constitutes an act of misconduct in terms of the Public Service regulations of 2000 as amended. You are therefore called upon to submit a written explanation within 48 hours for your failure to be honest in your conduct”.

Minister Mupfumira added that although most Government workers reported for work on the day in question, the stay away was illegal as civil servants unions had not followed set rules to call for a strike or stay away.

“What is fortunate is that most civil servants went to work except for a few and I’m sure inspectors will come up with a report detailing the reasons for those that did not report for duty,” she said.

Minister Mupfumira said there were certain procedures that civil servants needed to follow before taking any industrial action.

“We have laws which say we must meet as the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) four times before we can say we have reached a deadlock and we never reached that situation. In any case the notification we got was in just a single day which is not adequate. The law is clear on how many days should be given as notification. One day is not adequate. We are not victimising anyone but people must simply bear the consequences of their actions,” she said.

The Government has since paid all civil servants their oustanding dues and when activists who sought to highjack the situation affecting civil servants called for another stay away under the banner of “Shut Zimbabwe” last week, the initiative failed dismally with Zimbabweans of all walks of life going about their businesses as usual.