By Pamela Shumba
The government has once again shifted the December pay dates for civil servants, with some of its workers expected to be paid after New Year.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira regretted the further delay saying it was caused by slow revenue inflows but assured civil servants that they would get their salaries on the promised dates.
She said although the government was facing serious revenue constraints, the finance ministry was working flat out to make sure that government workers are paid their salaries and bonuses.
“I want to apologise to the civil servants for the late salary payments but I can assure them that their salaries will come on the promised dates. The government is working flat out to make sure that it fulfils its obligation to pay its workers. The 13th cheques will also come, although we’re yet to announce the dates,” said Minister Mupfumira.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the pay date for the education sector has been moved to December 29, while that of the rest of the public service has been moved to January 5, 2016.
Last week civil servants received pay slips showing their pay dates had been moved from December 19 to December 28.
“Treasury advises that the December 2015 salary payment date for the education sector is being moved from December 28, 2015 to December 29, 2015,” he said in a statement.
“Furthermore, Treasury advises that the December 2015 salary payment date for the rest of the public service is also being moved from December 29, 2015 to January 5, 2016. Treasury sincerely regrets all the inconveniences caused.”
Civil servants yesterday expressed disappointment over the development, saying it creates a social strain on them.
“This is worsening the problems that teachers are already facing,” Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said.
“What we’re now seeing is further deepening of uncertainty not only of the bonus payments but salaries. Learning from previous experience with other organisations, particularly parastatals, we’re seeing that the trend of not paying salaries on time has developed into not paying at all.
“There’s therefore clear uncertainty among the civil servants as there are indications that the government is failing to meet its obligations. The worrisome thing is that there’s no dialogue. They’ve indicated that they’re not ready for the dialogue, which isn’t healthy for any organisation,” said Ndlovu.
Apex Council president, Richard Gundane last week said: “This is an awkward arrangement which has raised serious concern among the civil servants. This should’ve been avoided because it has denied the civil servants their festive season, which they can’t enjoy without money.
“Most of them work away from their families and they’ve been at their work stations since schools closed waiting for their salaries so that they can travel home and see their families,” said Gundane.
The Apex Council wrote to the government recently calling for a meeting before the end of the year demanding exact dates for the payment of civil servants’ bonuses.
Early this year, Minister Chinamasa announced that the government had suspended the traditional 13th cheque paid to government workers every December until 2017.
President Robert Mugabe, however, made it clear that government workers would receive their bonuses.
Last month Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa reassured civil servants that they would get their bonuses.
Some members of the uniformed forces got their salaries on December 8, without bonuses.
Traditionally civil servants receive their bonuses in November.
Last year the government had promised to pay civil servants bonuses at once but ended up staggering the payment due to cash flow challenges. Some government workers received their 13th cheques in January this year. The Chronicle