By Pamela Shumba
The majority of civil servants who didn’t receive their bonuses last month will get them before the end of the month while the rest will get them staggered up to the end of January, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said that due to cash flow challenges, the government could no longer pay the rest of the bonuses at once as promised.
Civil servants, however, said they weren’t aware of the development and expressed anger at their employer, saying they were being forced to adjust their budgets once again.
The government last week shifted bonus dates from this week to the first week of January.
“Due to low cash inflows being experienced at Treasury, we realised that we could no longer pay the outstanding bonuses at once. The government then resolved that it would pay all its workers’ December salaries before Christmas and then stagger the bonuses for those who’re yet to get them,” said Minister Mupfumira.
“Half of the workers will get their bonuses at the end of December, while the rest will get theirs at the end of January next year. I want to appeal to the workers to bear with the government. I also want to assure them that they’ll definitely get their bonuses.”
The bonuses were initially staggered between November and December, with the uniformed forces receiving their 13th cheques last month.
Apex Council president Richard Gundane said government workers were not aware of the development adding that they were not happy about the uncertainty surrounding the payment of bonuses to government workers.
“We’re disturbed by the development as it’s the latest in a chapter of promises that haven’t been met.
“Colleagues in the uniformed forces received their bonuses last month and we thought it was only fair for the rest of the civil servants to get theirs as promised by the government,” said Gundane.
“Those in the education and health sectors have since received their salaries but with no bonuses. I therefore want to urge the government to immediately do something about these bonuses or at least explain to us what’s happening.”
Gundane said what irked them most was that the government wasn’t communicating its position to the workers.
“We’re in the dark and the government hasn’t made an effort to communicate its position. We’re always getting the employer’s position in the Press.
“What the government should know is that its workers have already budgeted for the bonuses while others have borrowed in anticipation,” said Gundane.
He said they were concerned about lack of dialogue between civil servants and the government, a development that has thwarted improvement in service delivery.
“It’s disheartening to note that the process of dialogue hasn’t been functioning since July last year. The National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) has no chairperson and this is likely to affect service delivery.
“We’re looking forward to meeting the new Public Service minister because a lot of work has to be done and she has to hit the ground running as we continue discussing solutions to the challenges we’re facing,” said Gundane.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) also expressed its disappointment on the government’s failure to pay its workers on time.
“We’re disturbed by government’s failure by to pay educators their 2014 bonuses this December as promised at various fora,” said the association in a statement.
“Zimta is further alarmed by the employer’s failure to advise workers on the non-payment of bonuses together with the salaries as has been the norm.”
The association added that it was left with no option but to express teachers’ anger and disappointment on the latest development. The Chronicle